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BLANKbottle “Retirement @ 65” 2019

R280.00 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. And this is the result: The forth vintage of Retirement@65, the 2019 - It is a radical red wine, only 12% in alcohol with this very natural vibe to it, driven by perfume rather than fruit, fresh and drinkable. Far removed from the style the new world is typically known for. With the block of Cinsaut now 68 years of age it ironically comes to life at the age of Retirement… Added to the Cinsaut is a little dash of Shiraz from the same area. And the label: A linocut I made to celebrate the fact that we won and the sheep lost." - Producer Note
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BLANKbottle “Searching for L’Estrange” 2019

R285.00 inc. VAT
"A whole-bunch, clay pot, bees-waxy Palomino. The wine is true to it’s name - (L’E) STRANGE! It's made from humble Palomino, which originated in the Sherry producing areas of Spain. The cuttings were brought to the African continent by ship and planted in 1965 on the mountain in Piekenierskloof, 550 meters above sea level. The 54-year old bush-vine vineyard, grown in African soil was made in African pots made from Limpopo clay, enhanced by the wax of African bees producing honey from African flora - meticulously guided, bottled and labelled by the colourful hands of the African people." - Producer Note
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BLANKbottle Epileptic Inspiration 2019

R260.00 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 Note
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BLANKbottle Little William 2019

R285.00 inc. VAT
"It was the vision of Marguerite Mavros Macdonald to plant vines in the Witzenberg mountains on her husband, Dugald’s family farm. I got involved in 2015 and this wine has become my favourite expression of South African Shiraz. In South Africa we have the luxury of mountains. These mountains separate desert from coastal areas and create valleys and different exposures - enabling grape growers the opportunity to grow a wide range of varietals in a very small area. One aspect of South African terroir that still needs to be explored fully is height above sea level. And this wine is a great example of what Shiraz at 750 m above sea level can do." - Producer Note
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BLANKbottle Little William 2019 Magnum

R565.00 inc. VAT
"It was the vision of Marguerite Mavros Macdonald to plant vines in the Witzenberg mountains on her husband, Dugald’s family farm. I got involved in 2015 and this wine has become my favourite expression of South African Shiraz. In South Africa we have the luxury of mountains. These mountains separate desert from coastal areas and create valleys and different exposures - enabling grape growers the opportunity to grow a wide range of varietals in a very small area. One aspect of South African terroir that still needs to be explored fully is height above sea level. And this wine is a great example of what Shiraz at 750 m above sea level can do." - Producer Note
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BLANKbottle Pseudonym 2019

R285.00 inc. VAT
"Pseudonym is made from a small 69-year old little vineyard. It grows in a little valley into the mountain in Darling. Seeing that it is the only food source around, the birds eat the grapes every year. The farmer could never use the valley for something else, so he kept the vineyard. When the grapes eventually ripened, there wouldn’t be much left to harvest. He would then pick the bits and throw it with the other grapes from the farm headed for the big co-operative winery. This was what had happened for 64 years. I asked him if we could cover the whole vineyard with bird nets, I bought the nets and he gave the labour. It was at the age of 65 when, for the first time, a wine was made exclusively from that little vineyard. I make two wines from it. Retirement@65 - a blend of the little block of Cinsaut and 25% Shiraz as well as Pseudonym which is 100% the Old vineyard Cinsaut." - Producer Note

Damascene Cederberg Syrah 2019

"Lifted aromatics of dried wildflowers, confetti bush and cool slate sketch out a vision of this Syrah vineyard’s mountainous home 940-metres above sea level. Brooding cassis tumbles along with fresh cut lavender. Saffron witchcraft teases the edge of the senses, hinting at a place unknown, of virgin terroir. The palate is supple and lithe, packed with energy, coiled around its core of pure, intense dark fruit, driven by a piquant acidity forged in the isolation of cold nights. Layers of tannins, mouth-coating and elegant bond together for a structure that is as fine-boned as it is made out of steel. The blackcurrant finish takes laps around the palate in an unbroken circle." - Producer Note

Damascene Franschhoek Semillon 2019

"A seashell breeze opens the interior life of the old vine Semillon, evolving in the glass, a subtle iridescence of flavour. Layers unfold; the slick of sea becomes salted caramel and just-toasted almonds, complemented with a kaleidoscope of orange citrus, apricot tang and white peach purity, then scented with the spiced perfume of ginger blossom and an undertow of savoury lanolin. The complexity deepens on the chalky palate, a stony freshness running right through, speaking of the Semillon's riverside origins. The mineral acidity races along with the broad, textural presence of the wine, a tug between glycerol density and weightlessness, skating into a waxy orange-toned, lengthy finish." - Producer Note

Damascene Stellenbosch Cabernet Franc 2019

"The delicacy of rosewater sails along with fresh fennel, peppered raspberry and red cherry succulence; the aromatics shifting shadows of garrigue and dark floral perfume. On entry an exhilarating bite of sweet-and-sour wild plum, juicy blackcurrant; a purple sappiness against gravelly grape tannin, giving the lucent palate rocky depth. A lively acidity acts as a textural element too, reeling along the intensity of the structure slowly into a graceful finish." - Producer Note

Damascene Stellenbosch Syrah 2019

R400.00 inc. VAT
"There’s a duality here, a mirror held up to two distinct sites, the Bottelary and Polkadraai Hills; fragrant wild roses and sandalwood leads to a nose of spice and smoke, of black olive and tilled earth, of salt-baked rock. The palate is full of nuance, a shining brilliance of fruit coated with that electric minerality that fizzles in the sky after a storm. That clarity is drawn throughout, guided by silky tannins, a touch of opulence, as it finishes fine and long." - Producer Note
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David & Nadia “Aristargos” 2019

R350.00 inc. VAT
"I did a double take when I realised this was the tenth vintage of Aristargos - 2010 seems like yesterday - but what a great and reliable wine it has become. Chenin-based with 50% Clairette, Semillon, Roussanne, Viognier, Marsanne, Grenache Blanc and Verdelho, it's wonderfully complex and layered, with pear, citrus and herbal notes, a hint of peach and a long, stony finish." - Tim Atkin MW, South African Special Report 2020
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David & Nadia “Aristargos” Magnum 2019

R745.00 inc. VAT
"47% Chenin Blanc, 13% Semillon, 11% Clairette Blanche, 10% Viognier, 8% Marsanne, 6% Roussanne, 3% Verdelho and 2% Grenache Blanc – seven varieties across 15 different vineyards involving 22 pickings. This vintage seems particularly reticent with the nose showing elusive notes of white and yellow fruit plus a little earthiness while the palate is lean, fresh and pithy. Quite challenging at this stage but should no doubt unwind with time in bottle." - Christian Eeded, Winemag