Today marks the nationwide release of the new vintage from Damascene and Moya Meaker (2022 for all except the W.O. Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon which is 2021). This is now the fifth release of wines from the team of winemaker Jean Smit and co-founder David Curl.
Last year’s releases were tasted and included in British Master of Wine Tim Atkin’s 2023 South Africa Special Report. Along with being elevated to Tim’s First Growth producers, the 2021 vintage wines received high praise from arguably the most respected voice on South African wine. Jean’s highest scoring wines were the 2021 Damascene W.O. Swartland Syrah which received 98 points, and the W.O. Stellenbosch and W.O. Cederberg Syrahs which both received 96 points respectively. Jean maintains his position of not wanting the consumer market to be influenced in any way by ratings and notes from wine writers and critics. This is why the 2022 vintage set of wines will only be tasted by the likes of Tim Atkin next year.
Availability remains very limited on this small-volume project aimed at showcasing some of South Africa’s rarest vineyard sites, and to this end, most of the wines are unfortunately very limited and are available on allocation only. However, exclusive to this release today we have set aside 30 mixed cases of 6 bottles each.
Damascene & Moya Meaker case
Damascene|W.O. Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon 2021|R 495|x 1 bottle
Fruit from the Helderberg, Bottelary and Vlottenburg (towards the Polkadraai Hills). These mature vineyards are all based on granitic outcrops situated between 14 and 20 km from the Atlantic Ocean. The 2021 is a very poised and elegant wine with the moderate use of wood allowing for wonderful purity of fruit. A total of 3,410 bottles were produced.
Damascene|W.O. Stellenbosch Old Bush Vines Chenin blanc 2022|R 495|x 1 bottle
A blend of fruit from three sites in the Bottelary region: Sonop (planted 1982), Houmoed (planted 1972), and Mooiplaas (planted 1980). While a little shy now in its youth, there is tremendous depth to this Chenin and it will reward some time in bottle. A total of 3,380 bottles were produced.
Damascene|W.O. Swartland Syrah 2022|R 495|x 1 bottle
Grapes were sourced from three Swartland sites. The first bush vine block is situated on the foothills of the Paardeberg and deeply rooted in ancient free-draining decomposed granite soils. The second vineyard is in the heart of the Swartland, facing north. These bush vines are planted on Malmesbury shale. The dominant source is from the western foot of the Riebeek Mountains. This slope consists of an outcrop of schist that faces southeast. Between 60-75% whole-cluster fermentation was adopted and while a little restrained now, this Syrah will evolve and reveal more of those dark berry and olive tapenade characteristics. A total of 4,380 bottles were produced.
Damascene|W.O. Stellenbosch Syrah 2022|R 495|x 1 bottle
Grapes were sourced from two distinct vineyard sites in the Stellenbosch district, both of which are situated higher than 300-metres above sea level. The soils are dominated by decomposed granite. The vineyard on the Polkadraai Hills was planted on a southeast-facing in 1996 and contributes about 80% of the fruit in this wine. The other vineyard is a low-yielding parcel planted in granitic soils in the Bottelary ward in 2001. This Syrah is a sum of its parts. Harvested fruit was separated into numerous smaller fermentation batches, with between 60-75% whole-cluster fermentation for each batch. This wine exhibits wonderful exotic spice and red cherry and blackberry fruit. This Syrah is a standout of the three. A total of 6,600 bottles were produced.
Damascene|W.O. Ceres Plateau Syrah 2022| R 495|x 1 bottle
This vineyard is situated at the top of the Ceres Plateau in the Witzenberg mountain range, planted on a well-drained slope of Bokkeveld shale. Just 60% whole-cluster fermentation with this Syrah, with fruit that is very intense and deep. The balance was de-stemmed and fermented as whole berries. This Syrah shows that denser side of Syrah, with darker red berry fruit and slightly candied cherry. A total of 2,650 bottles were produced.
Moya Meaker|W.O. Elgin Pinot noir 2022|R 305|x 1 bottle
Five blocks of estate-grown Pinot noir (totaling 3.12 ha) that are stretched across a single south-facing slope in the Elgin Valley, rooted in ancient clay-rich Bokkeveld shale. The 2022 is very pretty and elegant – a Pinot noir that sparkles in its youth. It is hard to resist drinking now, but it will be interesting to see how it ages. A total of 11,030 bottles were produced.