Country / South Africa

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Steytler 1947 Chenin Blanc 2021

"From 74 year old vines, the aromatics are super complex and spicy with lovely nuances of wet straw, dusty white citrus, honied yellow peaches, fynbos and sweet pineapple confit. There is such focused depth, full bodied plump texture and complexity with fabulous nuances of tangerine peel, naartjie pulp, lychee concentrate and a honied bon bon intensity. A super impressive wine with power, breadth and weight but a balancing harmonious acidity. The true personification of delicious old vine Chenin Blanc statesmanship. World class from every angle. Drink now and over the next 25 years" – Greg Sherwood MW

Steytler Vision 2020

R630.00 inc. VAT
Steytler Vision 2020, "Power & concentration, within a tightly woven structure showing lots of promise. Generous cassis and blackberries as well as vanilla and spice from the oak. Complex & multi-dimensional. Those who can resist the temptation will be rewarded well with cellaring." Winemaker's notes

Steytler Pentagon 2020

R630.00 inc. VAT
"Kaapzicht Steytler Pentagon 2020, A muscular Bordeaux style blend that exudes power and concentration, tied up in a structure of fine grained tannin and bright acidity that not only promise extensive evolution, but also entices with every visit to the glass. Brooding dark fruit tightly packed in an intricate frame are delivered with great purity and finesse."- Winemaker's notes

Steytler Pinotage 2020

R630.00 inc. VAT
Steytler Pinotage 2020, "Patriotism is a personal conviction. “Steytler Pinotage” is our patriotic devotion to the trials and tribulations of mastering Pinotage since its earliest beginnings right here in the Bottelary Hills. As this is South Africa’s only truly original grape, we are fixated on flaunting its finesse to the world. With this wine we pay homage to George Steytler who farmed Kaapzicht for 33 years" - Winemaker's notes

BLANKbottle Nothing to Declare 2021

R280.00 inc. VAT
They used various techniques, one of them being… tie it to your leg, drop your pants to cover it and walk through the NOTHING TO DECLARE section at the airport as if you have… NOTHING TO DECLARE - you know the feeling...Back in SA they would then reproduce and plant little vineyards, do trials on them and plant larger ones (to state the obvious: this was completely illegal, distributing diseases being the main risk). I, however, have seen first-hand that the type of farmer who went through all the effort to do this, is almost without fail completely passionate, super psyched-up, forward-thinking farmers/winemakers - serious producers. So they would, without a doubt, bring in clean, great quality vines.Nothing to Declare is a tribute to these vine smugglers. Providing us, the new generation winemakers, the foundation to take this industry to new heights.In 2012 and 2013 I made a wine that was driven by one of these illegally smuggled grape varieties. It was registered with the government as Chenin Blanc. I called it “Nothing to declare”. Since then this particular vineyard went through a process of amnesty and was now declared legal. So this wine grew from there, using that vineyard as a base and combining that with as many of the not so traditional South African varietals I have in the Winery.The Label: I did a chalk drawing on the one side of one of the barrels - an image of vine cuttings tied to a man’s leg, about to be covered by his pants. After a few months, the image faded. To solidify the image, I engraved it into the wood like it was done in the olden days. So in February 2015, after bottling the first vintage, I needed a label. I bought printing ink and applied it to the surface of the carved image. I then placed a large piece of paper on it and made a print, which became the main image for the label. - Winemaker's Note

BLANKbottle 1 Click off 2021

R365.00 inc. VAT
"I started with a clear vision for this wine - only to miss it completely… hence the original name of the wine: 2-CLICKS-OFF. The ‘13 and ‘14 vintages came and went - either down the drain or to a blend. The vineyard then changed ownership and I was out. Lost the vineyard. It happens from time to time. I’m a firm believer in letting things takes its natural course but this time round it was different. I had the conviction that the vineyard was mine to make wine of. It just needed to mature a bit. So I decided to fight for it. Like back in the day when my now wife dated one of my friends…I didn’t give up and in harvest 2016 I received the long-awaited phone call: do I still want the Pinot? Being so late in the season, the grapes were over-ripe and the vineyard was in a neglected state. But I knew that it was my chance to get my foot back in the door.After harvest, when the dust had settled, we sat down and had a chat. I immediately sensed a change of heart. André van Wyk, the now fully-committed sole owner, had a vision but wasn't sure how to go about it. He was also aiming for a classic Pinot. So I took my cue from George Clooney in the OCEAN-8 movie: I needed a team. I approached a guy called Jaco Engelbrecht of Visual Viticulture - an intensely articulated and passionate guy. I introduced Jaco and Andre and immediately there was the proverbial magic in the air. The game was on!" - Winemaker's notes

BLANKbottle B.I.G. 2020

R310.01 inc. VAT
"The Swartland Revolution was exactly that: a revolution initiated by Swartland farmers which turned the premium wine market upside down. Suddenly premium higher-priced Bordeaux-style Stellenbosch wines had to share the stage with premium Rhone-style Swartland blends. And so it happened then, that for the past 8 years, the media stuck Cabernet Sauvignon in a dark and dusty corner - not “cool” enough. As some of you might know, at the moment I make wine from 30 varieties. I thought it a bright idea to do something for the neglected, fallen-from-grace Cabernet Sauvignon. I subsequently identified vineyards with vastly different heights above sea level: 7 near Somerset West (at 32 to 391 m), 2 on the outskirts of Tulbagh (both at 310 m) and 2 in the Witzenberg’s Koue Bokkeveld (at 734 and 755m).When I first started speaking to the masters of Cabernet here at the Southernmost tip of Africa, the first thing mentioned by most was the dreaded Greenness in Cabernet Sauvignon - a very unwelcome herbaceous / vegetative character. This develops due to high levels of Pyrazines present in the wine - something that's determined by the ripeness level of the grapes. The longer the grape bunches get exposed to sunlight during the growing period, the less Pyrazines - resulting in less greenness in the end product - reducing herbaceousness and amplifying fruit. Here in South Africa we have a unique situation: although we have plenty of sunshine, it is hot and dry. In most instances, by the time the grapes are ripe for picking, it hasn't had long enough sun exposure for the Pyrazines to get to an acceptable level. And if you leave it on the vine for longer, the sugar level gets too high. These sugars are then transformed during fermentation into alcohol resulting in rather high alcoholic wines.So in general, Cabernet creators are in fact chased by the Green Monster. Defended by some, feared by most. What confuses me, though, is that one could argue that this greenness is a stylistic characteristic of wines closer to the ocean, which makes it acceptable. Or does it? Where the exact point lies where herbaceousness turns into greenness - I am not sure. That’s why I decided to make a Cabernet Sauvignon led blend and identified 9 vineyards from different heights above sea levels. The closest vineyard to the ocean is 3km and the furthest 3 hours drive. We made them all separately and aged them all in French oak for one and a half years - picked mainly when we thought the grapes tasted best. Interestingly enough, the first vineyard on the Helderberg ripened in late February whereas the last vineyard in Ceres Plateau (about 3 hours drive from the first) reached optimum ripeness on 22 April - 100 days into harvest and also the very last grapes to hit the cellar." - Winemaker's notes

BLANKbottle Empire 2020

R310.01 inc. VAT
"Just for the record - I am a huge fan of Swartland white blends. The image of South African wines has changed dramatically over the past 10 years and the Swartland played a huge part in this. Their wines, especially the Rhône-style white blends are top notch. They are fun, young, energetic and unique and started to gain international fame.Stellenbosch, however (where I studied winemaking), is the original EMPIRE of South African wine. Like most of us, I like to support the underdog, and in the case of white blends, the Empire became exactly that. So I created a white blend based on similar varieties - a combination that could give some of the Swartland white blends a go. The empire is therefore now striking back at the Swartland with a blend of an all-Stellenbosch Verdelho, Pinot blanc, Sauvignon blanc, Roussanne, Marsanne, Chardonnay, Chenin blanc and Viognier. The label consists of two sections. On the left part of the label you will see a half star, which was the logo for the ""Swartland Revolution"". And on the right - stripes that represent a traditional and conservative EMPIRE. And the red brother of Empire Strikes Back is EMPIRE 2018 - not striking back but just being himself. With Cabernet Sauvignon as driver and bits of Petit Verdot and Cabernet franc to compliment. The old style design label shows a combination crest. I combined the crest of Stellenbosch University and Elsenburg College - The 2 Empires when it comes to wine education - I studied at both..." - Winemaker's notes

BLANKbottle Hinterhofkabuff 2021

R375.00 inc. VAT
"Some of my German clients think that the "branding" of "IM HINTERHOFKABUFF" was neatly thought through, specially and specifically designed to enter and crack the German wine market for BLANKbottle. And yes, the fact that I called the wine a dialect/regional/nickname sort of German name does make the wine sell in Germany. But the truth is that I cannot take credit for it at all, I am just not all that strategical. The truth is: it fell in my lap.Early in 2010, a journalist writing for a huge German magazine called the "Stern" phoned me. He was writing an article on South African wineries to visit, aiming it at touring soccer world cup fans. At the time and still today my office is located next to my winery in a very old dilapidated barn type of building. When I moved in I transferred the run-down barn into a personal office/lounge with a nice Friday braai facility at the back. No flags, no signage, no fountains - just a run-down building with skew walls and heaps of soul.I told that very persistent German journalist that he could not meet me at the office, that we should rather try a coffee shop. It's much nicer. As you know, some people don't take no for an answer, and he was one of them. So he came out to the farm, loved all of it and spent almost 3 hours with me tasting wine and taking pictures.Three months later my sister-in-law living in Switzerland phoned me to say that there was a massive article on South African wineries in the Stern and that BLANKbottle featured. So she emailed me the article and with the help of family, I started to decipher the article. This guy kept on using the word HINTERHOFKABUFF whenever he referred to my office. So I looked it up. In old Berlin, Germany, a typical residential property would have the main house where the owner lived, and then had a sort of second house at the back called the HINTERHOF where a second family would live. And at the back of the HINTERHOF, they usually had a KABUFF. Which was a little garden sort of shack-house for the very poor people to live in. So the direct translation of HINTERHOFKABUFF - BACKYARDSHACK...I took an immediate liking to the name and my mom made a sign for my office. "The Hinterhofkabuff". So when I made my first Weisser Riesling, a varietal that originated in the Rhine Valley Germany - it was logical to find a proper German name for it. Hence: Im Hinterhofkabuff!" - Winemaker's notes

BLANKbottle Makstokkie 2021

R280.00 inc. VAT
This is a Swartland 100% Verdelho.

BLANKbottle Kortpad Kaaptoe 2021

R250.00 inc. VAT
"In August 2011, on a farm somewhere between Darling and Hopefield on the West Coast of South Africa, I was visiting a block of grapes, Carignan. I received a SMS from someone who needed me to be in Cape Town within the next hour. Being in the middle of nowhere, I asked the farmer the quickest way to Cape Town. In Afrikaans (one of the 11 official languages of South Africa), the "Kortpad Kaaptoe". He said that I needed to drive towards the Carignan, past the Shiraz and Fernao Pirez...."The FERNAO WHAT???", I asked him? "Fernao Pirez" he replied. Bush vines, unirrigated, planted by his grandfather 38 years before. So, on my shortest way to Cape Town (the "kortpad kaaptoe"), I found Fernao Pirez. A varietal I had never tasted wine of and something I never knew existed in South Africa. And that brings me to something so very important to me.I love interesting, true stories. So if I find a story like this, a bit of family history stumbled upon on my shortest route to Cape Town, I want to tell that story, disguised as a bottle of wine. So it is not ONLY about the wine. In life everything needs to be seen in context. If you take things out of context, wine becomes one dimensional and boring in a way.The label: Linocut of AC/DC inspired font. Printed on real organics paper with as much gold bling as possible. Labels are hand-applied with old-style wet glue technique. Please note that the label will slip off the bottle when it gets wet. The label is as natural as the wine inside the bottle.The areaIt looks like a desert out there. The topsoil is 30cm of white sand with an iron rich subsoil we in South Africa call Koffieklip - literally translated it would mean coffee soil. It got its name from the little pebbles in the soil that look like coffee beans surrounded by a clay rich iron saturated soil.The vineyard has no irrigation and it is over 40 years old with its roots deeply developed into the subsoil. For some reason the ground water level is high. I can only imagine that a shallow water vein runs through that specific section of the desert-like area, providing the deep roots a supply of water." - Winemaker's notes

BLANKbottle The Spaniard 2021

R310.01 inc. VAT
BLANKbottle The Spaniard 2021 is 100% Mourvèdre from a bush vine growing in schist soil in the Riebeek Valley. Just 3 barrels were made (1 x 225L new oak barrel and 2 x 225L older oak barrels). The winemaker, Pieter describes the wine as flirty and very expressive so went with a dumpier bottle shape for 'stage presence' and a loud label design.

BLANKbottle Orbitofrontal Cortex 2021 MAGNUM

R630.00 inc. VAT
"In October 2015 I was sitting on a plane heading to Joburg, next to a guy who was (or so it seemed) plugged into his computer with wires and stuff. It looked like he was communicating with the machine in a way. Once we had landed I asked him what on earth he was doing. He told me that he and his clinical psychologist business partner had started a marketing company called Neural Sense, based in Cape Town.They conduct market research by tapping into people's subconscious reactions to various inputs. I love weird things, so I told him I make wine and if ever he wanted to do something with wine he was welcome to get in contact. And he did. Three months later I was sitting at the table in my winery hooked onto machines. All my subconscious reactions (in the LIMBIC part of my brain) to each of the 21 components were to be measured and recorded - a camera looking me in the eyes (for eye reactions), a thing on my finger (for blood oxygen levels), a heart rate monitor on my chest, something on my arm (for arousal levels e.g. heat/sweat) and a mobile EEG device on my head (for monitoring my brain waves).It was the time of year where I had to make up final blends and I was sitting with 21 different white wine components in barrel, which were ready for blending and bottling. They were all different varietals from different areas and vineyards. So my assistant winemaker, Julia, took samples from all the barrels and put them into glasses, which my wife marked from 1 to 21. For each wine I would first close my eyes, then open them and they would start recording with the camera, hand me any wine and prompt me to nose, taste and spit - constantly monitoring and recording my heart rate, blood stuff and activity in my subconscious.Of course I can’t control my subconscious - before I think of reacting, I already had. We tasted through all 21 wines. I obviously spat, washed my mouth with water in between and we even did a few with clean water in my mouth and used that as a control or base reaction. This process took a whole day. I like to call it work. Their job was now to analyse the data. The way I understand it is that they look at all the parts of my brain that reacted, compare it with all the other blood and heart monitors and then work out with mathematical algorithm what I liked and disliked.The analysis of the data took months, so in the meantime Julia and I decided to blend a control - the best possible white blend from the same 21 parcels - making use of our conscious mind; the ORBITOFRONTAL CORTEX. When the results came, the two wines were so different! We blended both and bottled the 2 wines. Please note - we are NOT trying to prove something with this experiment. We were just trying to have fun. And we did… So, LIMBIC 2015 - Wellington Chenin blanc, Darling Chenin blanc, Swartland Clairette blanche, Upper Hemel and Aarde Pinot Gris and Stellenbosch Viognier And ORBITO FRONTAL CORTEX 2015 - Piekenierskloof Grenache blanc, Swartland Clairette blanche, Swartland Fernão Pires, Elgin Semillon and Voor Paardeberg Verdelho. " - Producer's note

BLANKbottle Orbitofrontal Cortex 2021

R310.01 inc. VAT
"In October 2015 I was sitting on a plane heading to Joburg, next to a guy who was (or so it seemed) plugged into his computer with wires and stuff. It looked like he was communicating with the machine in a way. Once we had landed I asked him what on earth he was doing. He told me that he and his clinical psychologist business partner had started a marketing company called Neural Sense, based in Cape Town.They conduct market research by tapping into people's subconscious reactions to various inputs. I love weird things, so I told him I make wine and if ever he wanted to do something with wine he was welcome to get in contact. And he did. Three months later I was sitting at the table in my winery hooked onto machines. All my subconscious reactions (in the LIMBIC part of my brain) to each of the 21 components were to be measured and recorded - a camera looking me in the eyes (for eye reactions), a thing on my finger (for blood oxygen levels), a heart rate monitor on my chest, something on my arm (for arousal levels e.g. heat/sweat) and a mobile EEG device on my head (for monitoring my brain waves).It was the time of year where I had to make up final blends and I was sitting with 21 different white wine components in barrel, which were ready for blending and bottling. They were all different varietals from different areas and vineyards. So my assistant winemaker, Julia, took samples from all the barrels and put them into glasses, which my wife marked from 1 to 21. For each wine I would first close my eyes, then open them and they would start recording with the camera, hand me any wine and prompt me to nose, taste and spit - constantly monitoring and recording my heart rate, blood stuff and activity in my subconscious.Of course I can’t control my subconscious - before I think of reacting, I already had. We tasted through all 21 wines. I obviously spat, washed my mouth with water in between and we even did a few with clean water in my mouth and used that as a control or base reaction. This process took a whole day. I like to call it work. Their job was now to analyse the data. The way I understand it is that they look at all the parts of my brain that reacted, compare it with all the other blood and heart monitors and then work out with mathematical algorithm what I liked and disliked.The analysis of the data took months, so in the meantime Julia and I decided to blend a control - the best possible white blend from the same 21 parcels - making use of our conscious mind; the ORBITOFRONTAL CORTEX. When the results came, the two wines were so different! We blended both and bottled the 2 wines. Please note - we are NOT trying to prove something with this experiment. We were just trying to have fun. And we did… So, LIMBIC 2015 - Wellington Chenin blanc, Darling Chenin blanc, Swartland Clairette blanche, Upper Hemel and Aarde Pinot Gris and Stellenbosch Viognier And ORBITO FRONTAL CORTEX 2015 - Piekenierskloof Grenache blanc, Swartland Clairette blanche, Swartland Fernão Pires, Elgin Semillon and Voor Paardeberg Verdelho. " - Producer's note

BLANKbottle Little William 2021 MAGNUM

"The wine is named after my chance meeting with a little boy called William on the Witzenberg mountains. It’s been a fascinating story from the start, but became even more bizarre at the end of last year, with another chance meeting.Little William reloaded!In January 2016, I was driving back from a tiny little vineyard in the Koue Bokkeveld (Ceres Plateau). Cruising along at the 100km/h speed limit, I came to a very winding stretch of road leading towards the Witzenberg pass. Suddenly, for a split second, I thought I saw something in the middle of the road. I had just come through a super sharp bend and had to jump on the brakes with both feet. When I finally got my 470 000-km-on-the-clock Toyota to stop, there, on the white line in the middle of the road, stood a little blonde boy. I guessed him around a year and a half old. He was in his nappies and had a white T-shirt on, perfectly camouflaged on the white line. Unsure of what to do once I'd taken him out of the road, I thought it a good plan to prompt him and see which direction he takes off in (with myself of course right behind).About 200 meters further along the road he (we) crossed a little bridge heading towards the other side of the canal. He turned up a dirt road which led to a farmhouse about 300 meters up a hill. Keeping up to his snail-like pace, we arrived at the house more or less 10 minutes later (in my experience with farm dogs, it wouldn’t have been wise to carry him). When the gardener saw us approaching, he called out to a woman at the house and judging by her reaction, she must’ve been his mom and he must’ve been missing for a while.It was a bit of an emotional and chaotic environment so, knowing he was safe, I just turned around and left without introducing myself.So each time I present a tasting with Little William wine as part of the line-up, I get the same question: “Why is it called, Little William?”, followed almost without fail by: “What does the family have to say about you calling a wine, Little William?” My answer is always the same: “I never went back, they don't even know the wine exists. But I am convinced there will be this one day where I’d be sitting at some local bar in Knysna, drinking a beer all by myself when the young guy next to me turns to me and introduces himself as William from Ceres." And I’ll be able to tell him: “Eendag, lank, lank gelede het hierdie oom jou lewe gered!”For 4 years I had the privilege of telling the story of little William. Until last year. When Chapter 2 happened.In November, we took our youngest son for a minor operation at Panorama Mediclinic, Tygerberg, Cape Town. The lady at reception looked at us with a puzzled look on her face. We later learnt that there had been a mistake on the paperwork and they were under the impression that he was an adult. They had subsequently booked him into an adult ward. The man next to him had drunk a cup of coffee at 6:00am that morning with milk in. His operation therefore had to be postponed and he obviously missed his theatre time slot. He had to wait almost the whole day for the next slot. He and Sebastian eventually left for the theatre at more or less the same time. I went to get us a cup of coffee, and as she always does, Aneen started making conversation with the milk-in-the-coffee guy’s wife. On my return Aneen said: ”They are from Ceres, tell her the little William story.” I cringed, thinking: "Why would I do that??" I tried to let her comment slide and filled the awkward silence with useless words. We carried on with the small talk and she ended up telling us that she is a vet and her husband is a farmer. “Where do you farm in Ceres?”, I asked. “In the Witzenberg mountains, on a farm called Blah-blah-blah”, she answered.And, as you’ve probably guessed by now, that was the name of the farm where I dropped little William that morning. It started dawning on me that it might be my Knysna-bar-thing moment happening in a totally bizarre, different way. “Do you have a son called William?” I asked. “No”, she replied, “but my nephew is called William and they live on the same farm, in the house next to the road.” We did the sums and he would’ve been exactly 1 and a half years at the time. So it turns out it wasn't a beer-in-hand pub in Knysna, but a coffee-in-hand hospital in Cape Town. I should've listened to Aneen right from the start... so I told her the whole story and she phoned her sister-in-law. “Did you ever lose William on the farm?” she asked (I don’t think that’s the type of story you volunteer to tell your extended family if not prompted). “Yes”, she said. “There was this one day…”PS: This incident made me think about everyone’s life stories. I’m convinced that these kind of things happen to everyone. The difference is that I just happened to call a wine Little William, and I have a reason to re-tell this story. If I didn’t, I would’ve possibly only re-told the story once or twice, but I can imagine how the finer details could've gotten lost between profit margins and VAT. I have a responsibility to convey the story in an honest and factual way. You know how easily a story gets blurry. So each time I drive the road, I recheck my facts: Where exactly did William stand? Distances? The name of the farm? The story then became part of our story. And that day when the lady mentioned Ceres, the first thing Aneen thought about was the boy in the road." Winemaker's notes

BLANKbottle Little William 2021

R310.01 inc. VAT
"The wine is named after my chance meeting with a little boy called William on the Witzenberg mountains. It’s been a fascinating story from the start, but became even more bizarre at the end of last year, with another chance meeting.Little William reloaded!In January 2016, I was driving back from a tiny little vineyard in the Koue Bokkeveld (Ceres Plateau). Cruising along at the 100km/h speed limit, I came to a very winding stretch of road leading towards the Witzenberg pass. Suddenly, for a split second, I thought I saw something in the middle of the road. I had just come through a super sharp bend and had to jump on the brakes with both feet. When I finally got my 470 000-km-on-the-clock Toyota to stop, there, on the white line in the middle of the road, stood a little blonde boy. I guessed him around a year and a half old. He was in his nappies and had a white T-shirt on, perfectly camouflaged on the white line. Unsure of what to do once I'd taken him out of the road, I thought it a good plan to prompt him and see which direction he takes off in (with myself of course right behind).About 200 meters further along the road he (we) crossed a little bridge heading towards the other side of the canal. He turned up a dirt road which led to a farmhouse about 300 meters up a hill. Keeping up to his snail-like pace, we arrived at the house more or less 10 minutes later (in my experience with farm dogs, it wouldn’t have been wise to carry him). When the gardener saw us approaching, he called out to a woman at the house and judging by her reaction, she must’ve been his mom and he must’ve been missing for a while.It was a bit of an emotional and chaotic environment so, knowing he was safe, I just turned around and left without introducing myself.So each time I present a tasting with Little William wine as part of the line-up, I get the same question: “Why is it called, Little William?”, followed almost without fail by: “What does the family have to say about you calling a wine, Little William?” My answer is always the same: “I never went back, they don't even know the wine exists. But I am convinced there will be this one day where I’d be sitting at some local bar in Knysna, drinking a beer all by myself when the young guy next to me turns to me and introduces himself as William from Ceres." And I’ll be able to tell him: “Eendag, lank, lank gelede het hierdie oom jou lewe gered!”For 4 years I had the privilege of telling the story of little William. Until last year. When Chapter 2 happened.In November, we took our youngest son for a minor operation at Panorama Mediclinic, Tygerberg, Cape Town. The lady at reception looked at us with a puzzled look on her face. We later learnt that there had been a mistake on the paperwork and they were under the impression that he was an adult. They had subsequently booked him into an adult ward. The man next to him had drunk a cup of coffee at 6:00am that morning with milk in. His operation therefore had to be postponed and he obviously missed his theatre time slot. He had to wait almost the whole day for the next slot. He and Sebastian eventually left for the theatre at more or less the same time. I went to get us a cup of coffee, and as she always does, Aneen started making conversation with the milk-in-the-coffee guy’s wife. On my return Aneen said: ”They are from Ceres, tell her the little William story.” I cringed, thinking: "Why would I do that??" I tried to let her comment slide and filled the awkward silence with useless words. We carried on with the small talk and she ended up telling us that she is a vet and her husband is a farmer. “Where do you farm in Ceres?”, I asked. “In the Witzenberg mountains, on a farm called Blah-blah-blah”, she answered.And, as you’ve probably guessed by now, that was the name of the farm where I dropped little William that morning. It started dawning on me that it might be my Knysna-bar-thing moment happening in a totally bizarre, different way. “Do you have a son called William?” I asked. “No”, she replied, “but my nephew is called William and they live on the same farm, in the house next to the road.” We did the sums and he would’ve been exactly 1 and a half years at the time. So it turns out it wasn't a beer-in-hand pub in Knysna, but a coffee-in-hand hospital in Cape Town. I should've listened to Aneen right from the start... so I told her the whole story and she phoned her sister-in-law. “Did you ever lose William on the farm?” she asked (I don’t think that’s the type of story you volunteer to tell your extended family if not prompted). “Yes”, she said. “There was this one day…”PS: This incident made me think about everyone’s life stories. I’m convinced that these kind of things happen to everyone. The difference is that I just happened to call a wine Little William, and I have a reason to re-tell this story. If I didn’t, I would’ve possibly only re-told the story once or twice, but I can imagine how the finer details could've gotten lost between profit margins and VAT. I have a responsibility to convey the story in an honest and factual way. You know how easily a story gets blurry. So each time I drive the road, I recheck my facts: Where exactly did William stand? Distances? The name of the farm? The story then became part of our story. And that day when the lady mentioned Ceres, the first thing Aneen thought about was the boy in the road." Winemaker's notes

BLANKbottle Empire Strikes Back 2021

R280.00 inc. VAT
"Today I'm standing up to defend the EMPIRE - STELLENBOSCH. Silently, she’s been re-aligning her troops and now strikes back at the Swartland to establish herself yet again as a formidable force. The Empire Strikes Back 2018 - An all-STELLENBOSCH white blend of Verdelho from 2 different sites, Roussanne, Marsanne, Chardonnay, Chenin blanc and Viognier. Just for the record - I am a huge fan of Swartland white blends. The image of South African wines has changed dramatically over the past 10 years and the Swartland played a huge part in this. Their wines, especially the Rhône-style white blends are top notch. They are fun, young, energetic and unique and started to gain international fame. Stellenbosch, however (where I studied winemaking), is the original EMPIRE of South African wine. Like most of us, I like to support the underdog, and in the case of white blends, the Empire became exactly that. So I created a white blend based on similar varieties - a combination that could give some of the Swartland white blends a go. The empire is therefore now striking back at the Swartland.The label consists of two sections. On the left part of the label you will see a half star, which was the logo for the "Swartland Revolution". And on the right - stripes that represent a traditional and conservative EMPIRE." - Winemaker's notes

BLANKbottle “Retirement @ 65” 2021

R310.01 inc. VAT
"Retirement@65 2021 - a blend of Cinsaut and Shiraz.With these 2 vineyards, our biggest concern always are the birds. They are situated so far up the Darling mountains, that they fall prey to these beautiful creatures. Not that I blame them. If I had to live in the wild overlooking a nice, juicy green vineyard, I would also be tempted to have a nibble. Anyway, they were there first, so the only way for me to have anything left in the vineyard by the time of picking is to prevent them from getting close to the bunches. We therefore buy nets from Agrimark and cover the vines. It comes in rolls of 1.5 meter wide and 2 km in length. We then add these to either side of the bush vine rows and tie the 2 together at the top. The sides get covered with soil to keep it in place. And we have to repeat this process every year…When it came to the harvest of 2021, we decided to pick the Shiraz component a bit earlier than usual. The result: a wine that turned out to be a bit lighter and more perfumy. It compliments the finer aromas of the Cinsaut and amplifies freshness, adding great length. We were therefore able to add much more Shiraz to the blend than ever before - 50% Shiraz and 50% Cinsaut."

BLANKbottle My Koffer 2021

R310.01 inc. VAT
"As we move along in this adventure called life, we're (hopefully) increasingly exposed to fine and fascinating wines. We forget quickly and the days of getting excited when opening a bottle of Tassenberg is long gone. So it was then that in February 1994 I walked into Western Cape Liquor Store in Stellenbosch and bought my first bottle of TAS for R3.50. In the (student) years to follow, I partook in a lot of Tassenberg drinking (to put it mildly).All that drinking gave me ample opportunity for reflection and I came to the conclusion that I wasn't particularly fond of the whole wine, but there was one flavour component in the wine which I loved. That flavour component reminded me of fresh strawberries - a sweet, green, wholesome sort of freshness.In 1997 I completed a month-long harvest stint in the (then) capital city of Tassenberg - Eersterivier Wine Cellar, Stellenbosch. We literally made hundreds of thousands of litres of Tassenberg. This is where the light went on for me and I finally identified the grape which produces my mysterious fresh strawberry component. It was Cinsaut! Ever since then I’d had the dream of producing a Cinsaut that tastes exactly the way I would like to remember TAS. The first straight Cinsaut I bottled was in 2007 - a Wellington Cinsaut as part of the Educational Range. The wine was good but not exactly the style I was after.Not long thereafter, I received a tip-off from a well-respected winemaker friend about a little Cinsaut vineyard located in the lesser-known Breedekloof Valley. At that stage, the grapes went to a big cooperative winery where it basically disappeared into cheap red blends. So I took the plunge and bought some grapes.Cinsaut is known as a varietal which produces lots of grapes per hectare. Besides the fact that Cinsaut has huge bunches, it also has massive berries. You therefore have much less skin-versus-juice contact and therefore end up with a lighter coloured (red) wine. I had the grapes ferment in small open-top French oak barrels and aged it in the same barrels for 6 months. Thereafter the wine aged for another 6 months in clay amphora." Winemaker's notes

Keermont Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

R310.01 inc. VAT
"2017 was an excellent growing season on Keermont. Despite a drier than usual winter, we had strong growth in the vineyards during the spring time. This led to the formation of a good healthy crop which ripened evenly during the warm, dry summer. Harvest started fairly early, but was put on hold after a heavy rainfall in late January. This rejuvenated the vines and allowed for extended ripening which definitely raised the general quality. We recorded one of our largest and healthiest crops yet and grapes came in with great analysis and concentration." Winemaker's notes.

Keermont Terrasse 2020

R210.00 inc. VAT
"Yellow gold colour, this wine has an explosive bouquet of lime, apple, hazelnut and peach with notes of vanilla spice, crushed oyster shell and butterscotch. The palate is textured and vibrant. A weighted entry comes quickly to life with ripe apricot, peach and pear flavours complimented by richer more spicy savoury fruit. This follows into a lingering sweetsour aftertaste with a light phenolic grip. A thin line of salty acidity gives the wine a succulent finish." - Winemaker's notes

Newton Johnson Family Vineyards Chardonnay 2020

R415.00 inc. VAT
"We want our Chardonnays to last," says Gordy Newton Johnson, and this one certainly will. Made with grapes from three sites - two north- and one south-facing, this is a very complete, balanced wine, with 30% new wood, citrus, oatmeal and cinnamon spice flavours, pithy acidity, a drizzle of cream and commendable palate length. "- Tim Atkin MW

Newton Johnson Family Vineyards Pinot Noir 2020

R500.00 inc. VAT
Newton Johnson Family Vineyards Pinot Noir 2020, "The length of the 2020 growing season helped to produce Pinots with excellent balance and precision. This four vineyard blend - from Mrs M, Sandford, Seadragon and Windansea - is elegant, detailed and refined, with pale colour, wild strawberry, black tea and ginger flavours, electrifying minerality and savoury grip." - Tim Atkin MW