Products tagged “Western Cape”

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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 “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 Oorbegin 2018

R285.00 inc. VAT
"2 Years ago I received a phone call from a (very excited) good friend and viticulturist Jaco Engelbrecht. He was standing in the veld with one of his clients, Andre du Toit, who had just purchased a farm in the Voor-Paardeberg.On their walk, they had just stumbled upon a lone vine. Upon further investigation they discovered more vines - growing on the forest floor, into trees etc. The interesting thing was that they seemed to be planted in rows - all pointing to the fact that at some stage this had been a commercial vineyard.Andre, being the new owner, then phoned up the previous farmer. It then transpired that 40 years before the owner had planted that block of Chenin blanc with the goal of producing grapes for the closest big cooperative winery. He had farmed the vineyard successfully for 15 years, whereafter the crop declined and he had made the decision to stop farming the vineyard, as it hadn’t been financially viable anymore.But instead of removing the vines, he had just left them there. They grew in the bushes for 25 years. He never pruned or harvested them - they were just completely abandoned, with no irrigation, growing into trees totally in the wild.The reason for my friend Jaco’s call? They wanted to know if I'd be interested in buying the grapes.And so the project started. Jaco and Andre started by tidying up the vineyard and removing the plants between the vines that were still alive. The vines had not been pruned for 25 years and this resulted in no thick arms like you would get in commercially-farmed bush vine vineyards. They were thin and flimsy. After a very light pruning in winter, the first crop was ready in 2018. We made 1 barrel from the grapes it produced. So here you go - this vineyard’s first crop in 25 years - a straight Chenin blanc - OORBEGIN 2018 (directly translated it means “START-OVER”, referring to a new beginning for the vineyard.)" - Winemaker's notes