Region / Western Cape

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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 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 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 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 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

Damascene W.O. Cederberg Syrah 2020

R435.00 inc. VAT
Damascene W.O. Cederberg Syrah 2020, "A singularity. So expressive of its liminal site; a mountainous vineyard 940-metres above sea level. Floaty red fruit, sour cherry, cranberry; the sandalwood scent of scrub and fynbos, a glow of white pepper, iridescent and driven. Hands-off winemaking assures the austerity and lightness of being of the wine remains intact. The fresh red fruit continues on the palate, underscored by a riper touch of blackcurrant wrapped in a fine-boned structure. Clear, precise acidity conjures up the coolness of the site; the spice lingers long into the finish." - Winemaker's notes

BLANKbottle Nothing to Declare 2020

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.” – Winemaker's 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 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-levelMr VILLA Cabernet Sauvignon: Tulbagh - 310 meters above sea-levelBUT WHY?: Ceres Plateau - 734 meters above sea-levelLEAVING THE TABLE: Ceres Plateau - 755 meters above sea-levelWe 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 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 Oppie Koppie 2017

R310.01 inc. VAT
"It immediately triggered an idea: if I ferment the wine without removing the stems (a.k.a. whole bunch fermentation), chances were that I could possibly extract some of that exciting spice. So I chucked 33.33333% of the total volume of grapes into a fermentation vessel (stems and all) and crushed it with my feet. With the balance of the grapes, I removed the stems using a de-stemmer and filled the tank. All the grapes then underwent spontaneous fermentation. After 4 weeks, I pressed the grapes and the wine aged in barrel for a year. When the time came for label design, I did a pencil drawing of an old-fashioned film camera taking a photo of a grape-stem. I blackened the camera lens in such a way that only one third of the stem was exposed to the camera. I then called the wine 33.3333.In 2015, the stems were super ripe and I decided to do 100% whole bunch fermentation. On the label I altered the sketch in order for the camera lens to have a 100% exposure to the stem.2016, the stems were ripe, but not as ripe as the 2015 vintage, so I went for 70% exposure.When it came to the 2017 vintage I decided that, in order for this wine to get to the next level, it needed more complexity. The only way to gain complexity is to add vineyards with flavour profiles that would enhance and add layers to the original wine. A little bit of Shiraz from the Swartland and a tad Cinsaut from the Breedekloof did the trick. Having had 80% whole cluster fermentation, I initially called the wine 80.0000 (referring to the percentage exposure to stems as in previous years), but this was confusing to my clients. I then changed the name to Oppie-Koppie, the name the farmer calls the vineyard - a 2017 Voor-Paardeberg Shiraz (my 4th vintage from this block of grapes). Northern Rhône-like in style, super spicy with nice grip. Ageing will only do this wine great but you can also drink it now." - Producer Note

BLANKbottle B.O.E.T. 2017

R267.00 inc. VAT
"Back in 2015 an old varsity friend referred me to a farmer called Boetie van Reenen. Not long thereafter a farmer whom I buy grapes from, as well as a fellow winemaker, referred me to the same guy. So with 3 solid referrals, I met with this Darling farmer who apparently had some really interesting opportunities when it came to varietals like Cinsaut and Chenin. In year 1, I bought some Chenin from him. Then, in year 2 (2016), the Retirement@65 vineyard came on board and finally, in 2017, a Pinotage vineyard.The 2017 was in barrel when we received the tragic news. Boetie had passed away after a fatal car crash. He was a keen fisherman and was on his way home from Ganzekraal. So today I’m releasing the BLANKBOTTLE B.O.E.T 2017 - mainly Pinotage with bits of Pinot Noir and Cinsaut, as a dedication to BOETIE. For those of you who don’t know, Pinotage is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut (also known as Hermitage), hence the name Pino-tage.When it comes to reds, Pinotage is the first to ripen. Unfortunately, its early sweetness attracts birds from the mountain and they feast on the grapes. In the past, the farmer had therefore been forced to pick the 37-year old vineyard early, on a low sugar, before the birds came. But that meant that the grapes were not ripe yet and could only be used for the making of rosé. To prevent the bird-fest, I then purchased some bird nets and the farmer covered the little bush vines with it - it worked." - Producer Note

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 blancIn 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 TBC Non-Vintage

R280.00 inc. VAT
"I spent 4 days driving from Avignon all along the Rhône river through Hermitage, Crozes Hermitage, Condrieu to Côte Rôtie. It was fascinating and invigorating. Condrieu’s wines (or rather the ones I tasted), were mineral, fresh and lean with depth in character and complexity - and made from Viognier - a varietal we struggle with in South Africa.SA Viognier are mostly over extracted, rich, sweet and floral. I have access to a really nice block of Viognier on the slopes of the Helderberg mountain facing Stellenbosch. I have been making wine from that block since 2012, but,up until today, have only used it in blends. So I decided to do an experiment. We picked the vineyard in two sections. The first picking on a relatively low sugar and a second picking as a ripe component. A combination of the two were aged for 2 years in old small barrel French Oak - 50% of the final blend. The other 50% was an early picking of the same vineyard the following year. In other words; the final wine is 50% early picking that spent one year in barrel (2018 vintage) and the other 50% a combination of early and late picking aged 2 years in barrel (2017 vintage).And I had no name for the wine. You know, it does happen that sometimes the name and label of a wine just doesn’t happen when it should… My distributers pressured me to get the wine out and after a suggestion by one of the reps, the name became TBC - To Be Confirmed." - Producer Note

BLANKbottle Offspring 2017

R205.00 inc. VAT
"The child of Dad Orbitofrontal Cortex and Mom Limbic (not the leftovers all thrown together - if I feel that a component doesn’t quite measure up, it gets demoted to a leftover tank which I sell as bulk wine). This OFFSPRING was thoughtfully blended - Riesling and Sémillon from Elgin, Chenin blanc from Wellington and Verdelho from the Voor Paardeberg." - Producer Note

BLANKbottle My eie Stofpad 2017

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