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Álvaro Palacios Priorat “L’Ermita” 2015 

"Tasting L'Ermita is always an emotional moment, as it's one of the great reds from Spain. The 2015 L'Ermita is 91% Garnacha, 8% Cariñena and 1% split between Garnacha Blanca, Macabeo and PX from the most famous single vineyard in Priorat. It fermented in oak foudre with indigenous yeasts and also had its élevage in foudre, which lasted for 15 months. The juicy freshness of this 2015, citric and vibrant, makes it very different from the rest of the portfolio. This is transparent, precise, like laser cut, chiseled, subtle and elegant, showing very open and expressive, with great freshness and the core of Mediterranean flavors. 2,200 bottles were filled in February 2017. 2015 was a high-yielding vintage in Spain in general and in Priorat in particular. The wines here have little color and feel very ethereal. 2016 is clearly more concentrated, and at the same time, the wines show vibrant acidity and more freshness." - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

BLANKbottle “Retirement @ 65” 2020

R310.01 inc. VAT
"In June 2014, I arrived at a farm in Darling where I was met by a very grumpy farmer. And for good reason I soon learnt. I had bought bits of grapes from the farmer during that year’s harvest (which all turned out really promising) and was doing my annual post-harvest farm visit with a fresh barrel sample for the farmer to taste. One of his grape clients had previously persuaded him to farm a little Cinsaut vineyard by method of minimum intervention. Not in an organic kind of a way, but more towards a 300% leave-the- vineyard-to-be kind of way. To make a long story short, due to many contributing factors, all the grapes of this little Cinsaut vineyard ended up going to the pigs and he was blaming his minimum intervention 300% leave-the-vineyard-to-be client for all of this. To make matters worse, for the 62 years prior to this, the vineyard hardly produced grapes sufficient to produce wine with. You see, his grandfather planted the vineyard in 1951 and had still used a horse to plough the land. The vineyard is on the edge of the mountain in a little valley and the only food source around. So as the berries accumulated sugar, the birds would hop from bunch to bunch pricking the berries with their beaks, causing them to rot. And by the time the grapes ripened there weren’t much left. Now things like this interest me. I asked him if we could give it one more try. He reluctantly agreed on the basis that he farms the block the way he believes one should. I, in turn, agreed to buy bird nets to cover the vines and we had a deal. So mid 2014 the vines were neatly pruned and he took care of the weeds. That spring, after bud break, the first soft green shoots appeared. Everything looked good! Then, one Sunday afternoon, I received a photo on whatsapp. It was the vineyard in question with about 20 odd sheep feeding in the vineyard and no sign of the newly formed soft shoots - only brown stumps remaining as the vineyard celebrated it’s 64th birthday. Late that Friday night his sheep had broken through the fence and ate everything green in colour. So there went another crop and the farmer got even more despondent. But he didn't give up and so, in June 2015, he raised the fence. In early November we covered the whole vineyard in bird nets. Finally, in February 2016 (for the first time in 65 years!) the vineyard survived the onslaught of wild animals roaming the hillsides of Darling and we picked a very small, but healthy, crop." Producer's note

BLANKbottle 1 Click off 2020

R365.00 inc. VAT
This Pinot Noir, produced from a small vineyard situated just over 12 kilometres of Kleinmond. There is significant improvement – as the name suggests things are “1 click off”, whereas previously it was “2 clicks off”. When we tasted this, we were very impressed by the purity of Pinot fruit and balance of the wine. While watching this space for the wine once Pieter is 100% happy with the result, we highly recommend the 2020 1 Click Off. Only one barrel was made so availability is very limited.

BLANKbottle Air Carrots of Pagnol 2018

R250.00 inc. VAT
"I know this is a more lengthy release than usual, but this is one story that needs to be told in detail - it’s one of those that, looking back, I can just shake my head in disbelief at how it turned out. Manon des Sources - a 2010 (yes a 9 year old!) bottle aged white blend of Weisser Riesling, Sémillon and Sauvignon blanc In the Elgin Valley, as a passion project, the owner of a mainly fruit farm planted 3 vineyards - Weisser Riesling Sémillon and Sauvignon blanc. In 2012 I took over the grapes from the previous buyer and made my DOC - a white blend of Weisser Riesling, Sémillon and Sauvignon blanc - a wine which represents this little mountainous outcrop. The soil varies immensely from reddish sandstone to granite and clay. After bottling my version (DOC 2012) the owner of the farm asked me if I could bottle a version of the same wine for him for his private consumption or to sell to his friends. Fast forward 7 years and he never got round to selling a bottle. So I bought it all back. I released it and it sold out in a flash. I mean, where do you find a 7-year old bottle-aged white from South Africa? Andre then told me that he had more. The previous buyer of the grapes had also made a white blend for him. A 2010! A dense, rich but fresh 9 year old white wine. What an experience! To taste a 2010 Weisser Riesling blend from South Africa is priceless. “But isn't it way too risky to name a wine Manon des Sources?” my wife asked me. Of course she was right. It’s a brand name owned by somebody somewhere, but the chances of me, here at the tip of Africa with a small batch of wine registering on their radar was very slim. So slim that I was willing to take the risk… Manon des Sources (Manon of the Spring) is a 1966 two-volume novel by Marcel Pagnol and tells the story of a lady living in a small village on the outskirts of Marseille. It's a very famous story and they subsequently made 2 films about the book. I would never have known about the book if it wasn’t for my Swiss friend, Eric, who started calling our daughter, Alexa, Manon des Sources. Alexa and the main character looked so alike: you see, for the first six years of Alexa’s life she did not like to have any fabric in contact with her skin. So my mother-in-law started making these long dresses of very thin soft material. She would wear one dress for about 6 months (day and night), then some nights she’d allow us to wash it and we had to make sure it’s ready for the next morning. Once that particular dress was completely worn out, full of holes, we had to get her into a new one - which was a nightmare to adjust to. She also never combed her hair and never wore shoes. In short: Alexa looked exactly like the lead actress in Manon des Sources. After this particular wine had been bottled, it was Alexa’s turn to design a label (they all get a turn to design a label and I pay them per bottle sold) and she subsequently made a self-sketch with her in her dress and wild hair flying all over. The name of the wine could not have been anything other than Manon des Sources." Producer's note

BLANKbottle B-BOS-1 2018

R250.00 inc. VAT
"My grandmother grew up on a farm near a town called Bredasdorp. It’s about 45 minutes drive from L’Agulhas, where the most Southern point of the African continent is situated. When she got married, she received a wedding gift from her parents - a plot of land right next to the ocean in L’Agulhas. She built a small wooden house with the money she received as wedding gifts (seems like the standard of wedding gifts has lowered significantly in the years since then…). It’s 75 years later and the wooden house called “T-nie-C” is now my mom’s and still fully operational as a family holiday house. This is our post-harvest, post-travel, post-bottling family hideaway and very close to our hearts. The place where the kids and Aneen and I reconnect with each other and ourselves, and also where I design most of my labels. Because of this, I’ve always wanted to produce a wine of origin Cape Agulhas. I had my eye on a few possible sites but it was a phone call from Caroline Rillema, owner of Caroline's Fine Wines (a wine shop in Cape Town), that was the start of an epic venture in this area. Caroline is a formidable force in the wine industry and she and her husband Ray, planted two vineyards on their holiday breakaway smallholding in a little town called Baardskeerdersbos. As the crow flies it is 47 km from our little house in L’Agulhas. If you translate Baardskeerdersbos into English, it means “Beard-Shavers-Bush”, named after a famous spider that lives in these parts of the country. This spider builds its nest from human hair… and the myth goes that when you go to bed at night the Baardskeerder spider will climb into your bed and shave your beard for the construction of his home. So I make wine from two different wines on Caroline’s property - B-BOS-1 and B-BOS-2." - Producer Note

BLANKbottle B.I.G. 2019

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 24 varieties. I thought it a bright idea to do something for the neglected, fallen-from-grace Cabernet Sauvignon. I subsequently identified 8 Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards, 2 Cabernet franc and 1 Petit Verdot 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 the following 11 vineyards from different heights above sea levels. The closest vineyard to the ocean is 3km and the furthest 3 hours drive." Producer's note

BLANKbottle B.I.G. Magnum 2019

R630.00 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 24 varieties. I thought it a bright idea to do something for the neglected, fallen-from-grace Cabernet Sauvignon. I subsequently identified 8 Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards, 2 Cabernet franc and 1 Petit Verdot 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 the following 11 vineyards from different heights above sea levels. The closest vineyard to the ocean is 3km and the furthest 3 hours drive. My eie plaas - Cabernet Sauvignon: Valley floor Firgrove - 32 meters above sea-level. UNITY - Cabernet Sauvignon: Lower slopes of the Helderberg Somerset West - 116 meters above sea-level. LAN - Cabernet Sauvignon: Firgrove (slope facing towards the Helderberg) - 60m meters above sea-level. COR-CS - Cabernet Sauvignon: Higher slopes of the Helderberg Somerset West - 308 meters above sea-level. COR-CF - Cabernet franc: Higher slopes of the Helderberg Somerset West - 320 meters above sea-level. Sigh of Relief - Cabernet franc: Higher slopes of the Helderberg Somerset West - 391 meters above sea-level. Black Nectar - Petit verdot: Blaauwklippen Road Stellenbosch - 279 meters above sea-level. TOOLBAG Cabernet Sauvignon: Tulbagh - 310 meters above sea-level Mr VILLA Cabernet Sauvignon: Tulbagh - 310 meters above sea-level BUT WHY?: Ceres Plateau - 734 meters above sea-level LEAVING THE TABLE: Ceres Plateau - 755 meters above sea-level 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." -Producer’s note

BLANKbottle Boberg 2020

R280.00 inc. VAT
"Moment of Silence predominantly comes from a farm in Wellington called Twyfeling. Boberg is situated on a farm right next to Twyfeling and literally looks onto the vineyards of Twyfeling. Now Twyfeling was owned by my direct family seven generations ago. So on the label it shows 7 generations with Boberg overlooking all seven generations of the Hauptfleisch family. 2015 was the first year that I bought the grapes from this Vineyard. The Farmer calls the vineyard BOBERG, which means “on top of the Mountain”. It was a neglected little vineyard, old bush vines with no irrigation. The farmer identified it as a site with potential and started with a restoration process. The vineyard grows in decomposed granitic soil in Wellington. The site is cooler than the others in the area. I used it in 2015 as a component in the Moment of Silence blend. In 2020 we picked early, the grapes were ripe but the sugar low and the palate fresh. The juice fermented spontaneously in a 1600L concrete egg shapes tank. The wine showed individuality and I decided to bottle this as a single vineyard wine within the BLANKBOTTLE portfolio." Producer's note

BLANKbottle Boetie 2020

R280.00 inc. VAT
Picked early, the grapes from the decomposed granitic soil were destemmed and underwent fermentation over 5 days. The wine shows a wonderful fruity crunch on the palate, but with firm tannins giving it some grip. We tasted it and could not believe it was 100% Pinotage.

BLANKbottle But Why 2019

R280.00 inc. VAT
"I was concerned that ripening would be a challenge. My initial thoughts were that the wines would be green. What we did not realise at the time was that the site’s radiation levels (sunlight) were off-the-charts high and the average temperature is low during summer. The grapes could therefore stay on the vines much longer, absorbing massive amounts of sunlight, whilst growing in maturity and getting rid of greenness. Resulting in ripe grapes with lower sugar levels. Sandy soils are also famous for producing more elegant wines."- Producer's note

BLANKbottle Empire 2019

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 2019 - 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 note

BLANKbottle Empire Strikes Back 2020

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." - Producer's note

BLANKbottle Epileptic Inspiration 2019

R280.00 inc. VAT
"1/3 Elgin Semillon that fermented and aged in French Oak for one and 1/2 years. 1/3 Elgin Semillon that fermented and aged in 330 liter clay amphora. 1/3 Baardseerdersbos Semillon, that fermented and aged in 330 liter clay amphora. I am not a fan of greener wines and therefore concentrate on picking the grapes when it is fully developed, which results in a riper-style Semillon. The story of Epileptic Inspiration: "Epileptic Inspiration 2013? You have no respect!", a Swiss guy told me on a recent trip to Zurich. Since the beginning of BLANKbottle, I have been designing my own labels. At first, it was because there was absolutely no way I could afford designers. I made use of Microsoft Word, typed BLANKbottle, placed it into a block and played around with the colours - no designing skills required at all. And, to be honest, for the first 10 years I actually didn't like my labels much (besides maybe the honesty of it). Every year, I would again have to fight off the desire to employ professional label designers. For those of you who don't know this: I started having Epilepsy at the age of 30. Then in November 2013, whilst not on medication, I had another huge epileptic fit (the second one ever). So the Dr booked me off driving and surfing, yet again. When I have a fit, what happens to me at first is that I forget everything. My long term memory returns quite soon thereafter (within hours), but I find that my short term analytical memory takes about 2-3 months to return - if at all... And this is how I started to design my new labels for the 2013 wines. I could not look at the computer due to the flickering screen. So I started making use of scissors, paint, Lino, pencil and old paper. And the result: I think I had a breakthrough in design, inspiration of Epileptic proportions. So the drawing and design of my own labels came as a direct result of my epilepsy. And here’s the strange part which I cannot prove - I believe that something in my brain changed due to epilepsy. Before epilepsy I had no skill or desire to draw paint etc. Now I still don’t have the skill, but at least I like my labels! All 47 of the ones coming your way in 2019." - Producer's note

BLANKbottle Im Hinterhofkabuff 2018

R375.00 inc. VAT
"The Im Hinterhofkabuff vineyard is small and is planted in pure yellow sandstone rock, vines trellised onto single poles - like they do in the Mosel, Germany. There is no irrigation and the slope is steep. It is exposed to the rough and gusty South-easter wind blowing straight from Hermanus. It is a cold and rugged site which produce very little grapes - some years resulting in only one barrel. The 2018 vintage produced two barrels. It is 100% Weisser Riesling, spontaneously fermented in old, small French Oak barrels. It is a concentrated riper style of Weisser Riesling. It has a firm acidity and mineral within the rich style. It will age beautifully (the current 2012 drinking beautifully at the moment). My aim is not to imitate German-style Rieslings - we try to capture the South African sunlight in this wine" - Producer Note

BLANKbottle Jimmy 2018

R250.00 inc. VAT
"A couple of decades ago a guy called Polla Brand drove the first Suzuki Jimny into South Africa from Namibia. The car ended up with a family member on a farm in the Voor Paardeberg. Come winter, the other vehicles struggled in the mud and slippery clay but the Suzuki, with its short wheelbase, cruised through really difficult terrain. Immediately gaining respect. From then on, the farmer, his son and his grandson (the current farmer) only drives Suzuki 4x4’s on the farm. The current farmer also happens to be the Western Cape champion, racing in the Dunes along the West Coast of South Africa - with his little hyped-up supercharged Suzuki - hence the inspiration for the label. Verdelho is a really interesting variety to farm with in South Africa. It loves heat and has this unique characteristic of maintaining high acid levels in really ripe conditions. This is a variety that you need to keep an eye on during harvest. It gains sugar at an immense rate with the challenge of picking it before it gets too ripe. Where most other wineries add tartaric acid, we prefer having a very early-picked Verdelho, at a low alcohol and a beyond-massive acid in the winery. We make use of this as a blending component to add acid and freshness. And this is the true power of Verdelho. But I felt that it was time to show the consumer the real personality of the varietal." - Producer Note

BLANKbottle Kortpad Kaaptoe 2020

R250.00 inc. VAT
This is the 5th vintage of the wine and the style moved a bit towards the elegant side of Maria Gomes. Spice-driven with fragrant finesse, but a strong potent core.

BLANKbottle Little William 2020

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 Little William 2020 Magnum

R630.00 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 Moment of Silence 2020

R205.00 inc. VAT
"Since it’s maiden vintage in 2007, this wine changed quite a lot. In 2007, it was a blend of Chardonnay, Chenin blanc and Viognier - 3 vineyards. The 2020 vintage however, consists of 4 components - 2 Chenin blanc vineyards called Boberg and Draai-Draai as well as Grenache Blanc and Viognier. All from Wellington. -Boberg: This vineyard grows on top of the Groenberg mountain in Wellington in decomposed granite. It was a neglected bush vine Chenin blanc vineyard that was recently resurrected and now being converted into an organically farmed parcel. -Draai-Draai: This vineyard is a trellised vineyard in a little valley on the western slope of the Boberg. It is a great component and produces extracted, dense full-bodied wines. It grows in decomposed granite and in 2018 it was converted into an organically farmed block. These 2 Vineyards make up about 75% of the final blend. -The next 20% is made up of a younger, organically farmed, irrigated Grenache Blanc vineyard on the lower slopes of the Groenberg. In 2018, we started to experiment with different fermentation styles. Specifically with the Grenache we tried some skin fermented parcels and it turned out really good - the idea is to add some tannin and texture to the final blend. -And the last 5% of the wine is made up of a conventionally farmed Viognier Vineyard next to the Grenache. Most of the components were fermented in old French Oak barrels 225, 300, 400 and 500L. The Viognier in Amphore and the Boberg vineyard in a concrete egg shaped tank. Spontaneous fermentation with 1-year aged on the Lees. Moment of Silence is our largest production at present and we produced about 10 000 bottles."Producer's note

BLANKbottle My eie Stofpad 2017

R325.00 inc. VAT
A blend of Cabernet franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec from the Helderberg Stellenbosch.

BLANKbottle Nothing to Declare 2018

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 2016 ended up being 9 Varietals but in the 2018 we are down to 5 - fermented in old French Oak barrels aged for 1 year on the leese blended and bottled. 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." - Producer Note