Let us catch our breath for a moment... after a month of hosting wine dinners and events, we have finally found the time to let you in on what has been going on in the background and some of the fantastic new wines that have made our shelves. New innovative wines from all over the world have been integrated into our range.
To kick things off we would like to introduce to you a few wines from South Africa, which include some rather tantalising unfiltered and minimal intervention styles of wine.
Tip: If you happen to purchase any of these unfiltered natural wines especially the wines with a little sediment be careful to roll the end of the bottle allowing the incorporation of resting particles, otherwise you could end up with two very contrasting glasses of wine from beginning to end.
Johan Meyer, AKA “Stompie”, has made a name for himself in the ever-emerging South African wine industry in a very short time. While his namesake ‘Signature’ wines reflect his love of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Stompie is not one to limit himself and thus created the Mother Rock Wines wines in collaboration with his UK importer Ben Henshaw of Indigo Wines.
WINEMAKING: Grapes are sourced from 5 different sites in the Swartland. The Chenin Blanc is planted on granite, koffieklip, and schist soils, the Viognier and the Harslevelu are planted on decomposed granite and clay, the Grenache Blanc is planted on decomposed granite and Malmesbury shale, and the Sémillon on granite and sand. Vineyards are farmed organically with minimal intervention. Vines are mostly dry farmed bush vines. All grapes were handpicked in the early morning during cooler weather, placed into lug boxes (smaller quantities mean reduced compaction and damage to the fruit) and then moved to the cellar. Grapes are fermented with natural yeast, half in stainless steel at 58°F, and, half in older 300-litre barrels. 15% of grapes were whole bunch fermented and spent 4 weeks on the skins. The wine ages for 12 months on the gross lees, after which it is blended and bottled without fining or filtering.
TASTING NOTE: The nose is beeswax, honeycomb and a touch of roasted lime and struck a match. White flowers on the edges, from some of the more aromatic varietals in the blend. The palate is just stonking. Brilliant tropical fruits with a juicy, fleshy, more-ish texture. It's a wine you hold in your mouth a bit longer - it just feels and tastes amazing, with just enough citrus to tie it all together. So incredibly drinkable and delicious, this is one to buy a lot of, as it's just so enjoyable to drink. That wee touch of skin contact provides a depth and texture that pulls it up to another level.
From the same producers as Mother Rock, this wine also includes a little sediment. Both of these wines benefit from drinking young and also to be enjoyed pre-dinner as a pallet livener. Mother Rock & Force Majeure show a tantalizing sour lemoned appeal as well as the flavour & characteristics of the terroir.
WINEMAKING: 80% of the wine was fermented in stainless steel at cooler temperatures (14 degrees Celsius), and the remaining 20% was vinified in older 300-litre barrels. 20% whole bunch was used. Ageing takes place over 9 months in old oak, after which the wine is blended and bottled without fining or filtering.
TASTING NOTE: Zesty, with white stones and white stone fruits, some herbal hints too – a bit funk but a whole lot of fun. A thirst quenching apéritif, light and energetic – yet a powerful, intensity of fruit and minerality abounds. It will be interesting to see this wine uncoil over the next 2-3 years.
Originally born in Western Australia, Gary completed a Bachelor of Literature, before moving to Japan to study and work as an English teacher. Upon returning to Australia he had an epiphany during a brief stint as a Japanese speaking tour guide in Queensland and began work in the vineyards of Margaret River. A five-week vintage posting at Ridge Vineyards California turned into a 2-year full-time position under the tutelage of winemaker Paul Draper and from there Gary has worked in Oregon and various regions within Australia. The Jamsheed label began in 2003 with a focus on single vineyard Syrahs and aromatic whites from unique sites in Victoria.
WINEMAKING: All components were pressed and fermented individually in barrels. A portion of the juice of each variety was frozen and then thawed out later as a sugar addition to guarantee the desired amount of residual sugar in the blend. Some fermenting juice was added to the blend before bottling, and the wine undergoes a second fermentation in the bottle. Some sediment is to be expected as the wine isn’t disgorged.
TASTING NOTES: A joyful, pink Pet-Nat, with a lovely perfume. Refreshing nose with strawberries... rose water and a lemony tang. High acid but well balanced. Built for sharing with friends, while soaking up the sunshine!
Storm Wild Air Sauvignon Blanc Hemel-en-Aarde:
Wild Air is a collaboration between Hannes Storm, of Storm Wines, and his UK agent, Ben Henshaw. Grapes are sourced from Inis vineyard in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. Most of the vineyard is planted with Pinot, but Hannes knew of a small section of 20-year-old Sauvignon Blanc vines, quite unusual for the region, growing on low-vigour, stony, clay-rich shale soils.
WINEMAKING: Wine-making is hands-off to showcase the quality of the fruit. Pressing is with a basket press. Fermenting is with natural yeasts, mostly in neutral 228-litre French oak and with a small part in a tank. The wine rests on the lees for 6 months and a quarter of it completes full malolactic fermentation. The result is a savoury, mineral and food-friendly style of Sauvignon Blanc. Only 1500 bottles were filled.
TASTING NOTE: Wild Air is a brilliant, zippy, concentrated Sauvignon with good textural depth to match its freshness – close your eyes and you could be
drinking a ripe vintage Sancerre.
The Great SA Red Co:
The Great South African Wine Company strives to produce, interesting, compelling and thought-provoking wines that express the rich winemaking heritage of Stellenbosch.
WINEMAKING: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot are destemmed and sorted before being whole berry fermented. Whole berry fermentation preserves fruit and results in less tannin extraction. Gentle punch downs are done for extraction with the emphasis on submerging the cap from time to time as opposed to attempting to extract colour and tannin. The aim is to make a soft, aromatic wine as opposed to a structured tannic wine. Cinsault is naturally fermented partially ( 50% ) whole bunch with bunches being “foot crushed” and the balance being destemmed. After ferment a skin maceration was allowed for up to two weeks, followed by basket pressing. Varietals were aged separately for 12 months, blended and then aged for a further 6 months before being bottled without filtration.
TASTING NOTE: A very attractive nose greets you on this well constructed, well-proportioned red. There is plenty of sweet spicy red fruit, soft fleshy red currants, sweet leaf, earl grey tea, cedar and tobacco spice. There is an opulence and generosity to the wine brimming with sweet blackberry and foresty bramble fruits. A full core of fruit, dense but precise and elegant with a very fine seamless texture and a soft, pithy red cherry skin finish.