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Rall Wines 2020 vintage official release

We kick off this year’s series of new vintage releases from our South African Great Domaines with those from the towering Donovan Rall.

Dear Reader,

In little over a decade, the Swartland’s Donovan Rall has risen to the very top to join some of South Africa’s best winemakers. He made his name with his White blend and this particular wine has simply gotten better year on year. Together with the Syrah-dominated Red, these blends formed a formidable foundation on which Donovan has built an internationally recognised collection of wines.

The pair of flagship blends are joined by a Grenache Blanc, Cinsault, fascinating and miniscule-production Cinsault Blanc and of course the now highly sought-after “Ava” Syrah and Chenin Blanc.

Rall Wines line-up

Rall Wines | Cinsault Blanc 2020 | R 255 per bottle *on allocation*
Rall Wines | Grenache Blanc 2020 | R 255 per bottle *limited availability*
Rall Wines | Cinsault 2020 | R 255 per bottle *limited availability*
Rall Wines | White 2020 | R 320 per bottle
Rall Wines | Red 2019 | R 320 per bottle
Rall Wines | “Ava” Syrah 2020 | R 625 per bottle *on allocation*
Rall Wines | “Ava” Chenin Blanc 2020 | R 480 per bottle *on allocation*

Due to the very small production of the Cinsault Blanc and pair of “Ava” wines, these are available on an allocation basis only. Please take note that it is unlikely that new clients requesting the “Ava” wines will be able to be accommodated as production in 2020 is down. Those that have previously received an allocation will be offered the wines again. Please speak to your account manager about these three wines. With regards to the rest of the range, please let us know what you would like to order*.

*Delivery will follow as soon as the wines have arrived from the winery (delay in stock arriving caused by the most recent ban on the sale and movement of alcohol). But please do be patient – the lockdown resulted in a backlog of orders for our team to deliver. Kindly allow for around 7 working days for delivery. 

*Online orders for White 2020 and Red 2019 only

Donovan's notes on each wine

Cinsault Blanc 2020 
“The loads of extra work going into this vineyard, combined with a more moderate growing season and much better rainfall, has really helped to achieve a bigger and more healthy canopy and given us the opportunity to harvest later and a bit riper than the past while still retaining good acidity.
In the cellar the grapes where whole-bunch pressed and the “dirty” juice transferred straight to amphora to ferment and then mature on its primary lees until bottling at around 8 months. The resulting wine has the same linear and savoury quality of the past vintages, but there is definitely an extra layer of fruit and more texture in 2020.
Still made from the only registered 0.2ha Cinsault blanc vineyard planted on granite in Wellington; this truly is a unique and almost forgotten SA grape variety.”

Grenache Blanc 2020 
“This 2020 Grenache blanc, still produced from the same dry farmed, ungrafted bush vines in the Piekenierskloof, is my favourite to date. The idea behind this has always been to make a wine that reflects the fresher and lighter side of this variety, but with a much smaller crop, the wine has great concentration and length at only 12.5% alc. without losing the energy. Picked in two stages and only fermented and matured in concrete eggs and clay to ensure nothing but the vineyard, the place and the variety are expressed in the final product.
Like the other white wines in the range, the grapes are whole-bunch pressed and transferred without settling straight to the vessels for fermentation. This vintage spent nine months on the lees in concrete egg and amphorae before bottling without any heavy filtration.”

Cinsault 2020 
“In this 2020 vintage, 60% of the fruit comes from Darling old vines and 40% from a bushvine vineyard in the Swartland. Both vineyards are grown on iron-rich clay. Semi-carbonic fermentation occurs naturally using 100% whole-bunches. The 2020 is light and fresh with lively acidity, crunchy tannins and loads of  bright red fruit.”

White 2020 
“Chenin Blanc (64%), Verdelho (32%) and Viognier (4%) all fermented naturally and matured separately in a combination of 225, 400 and 500-L seasoned French oak, and in this vintage around 20% of the Chenin also in concrete before blending and bottling after 10 months.
With a bigger component of the blend from the old vine Chenin grown on the granitic soils of the Paardeberg, this vintage retains the fine mineral backbone of the 2019 but with more texture, green and yellow citrus fruit, herbs and even some spice on the palate. Great natural acidity and a very low pH will also give this wine great aging potential of up to 10 years from vintage.”

Red 2019
“Syrah (65%); Grenache (13%); Cinsault (13%) and Carignan (9%). Again the biggest percentage of varieties other than Syrah since the first vintage in 2008. By adding more of the ‘GCC’ that can generally be harvested earlier than the Syrah, this 2020 has more fruit and freshness compared to its predecessors while still being structured.
Black and red fruit, herbs and pepper from nearly 100% whole-bunch fermentation on all components and a rich, savoury palate. Matured in old French oak for ten months before being bottled unfined and very lightly filtered and a further 18 months bottle maturation before release.”

Ava Syrah 2020
“Like the Chenin of the same name, this wine is now made from two schist vineyards around the Riebeeks Rivier and the Kasteelberg regions in the Swartland. The Ava is a tiny selection of Syrah on the most extreme and low yielding sites I work with. Fermented 100% whole-bunch and matured in old oak to truly express the place and soil on which it’s grown.
Now on its 4th release, this 2020 is the most refined version of this wine to date. Very delicate aromas of blue and purple flowers, fynbos and spice with powdery tannins and great fruit intensity.
Production remains tiny at 1,440 bottles only in this vintage.”

Ava Chenin Blanc 2020
“The 2020 vintage is a selection now from two vineyards around the Kasteelberg and Riebeeksrivier areas. Extremely low yields give this wine texture without losing the tension that so easily happens on these soils.
A restrained nose of hay, herbs and yellow fruit typically associated with Chenin on schist backed up with good acidity, mineral notes and a dry, almost pithy finish makes this vintage the most exciting to date.
Production remains tiny at 1,244 bottles only in this vintage.”

Many thanks.

Kind regards,
Simon Crawley
Account Manager | WSET – Level 3