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Rall Wines 2021 vintage official release

Today marks the official nationwide release of Donovan Rall’s new vintage. Demand for the wines has never been higher and therefore, the Red 2020 and White 2021 are available on request only whilst the rest of the range is strictly on allocation. Please speak to us if you do not already receive an annual allocation. 

Dear Reader,

Donovan was one of the original ”revolutionaries” coming out of the Swartland, and today he is unquestionably one of South Africa’s very best winemakers producing some of this country’s most sought-after wines. He is a hefty human being, but very softly spoken and prefers to keep a low profile. Donovan did a lot of travelling after his studies and built up a great deal of experience. He worked with the likes of Eben Sadie in 2007 before getting his first vintage under his belt with his 2008 White.

The pair of flagship blends continue to share company with a Grenache blanc, Cinsault, the small-production Cinsault blanc and of course the now highly sought-after pair of  “Ava” wines in the Syrah and Chenin blanc. This year, Donovan introduces two new wines to the range with the ”Noa” Chenin blanc (named after his youngest daughter with Ava being the eldest) and a Syrah made from one of the schist vineyards that goes into the ”Ava” – fermented and aged exclusively in concrete.

Rall Wines line-up

Cinsault blanc 2021 | Wellington | R 265 per bottle
Grenache blanc 2021 | Piekenierskloof | R 265 per bottle
”Noa” Chenin blanc 2021 
| Swartland | R 495 per bottle
White 2021
 | Coastal Region | R 345 per bottle
“Ava” Chenin blanc 2021
 | Swartland | R 495 per bottle 
Cinsault 2021 | Swartland & Darling | R 265 per bottle
Syrah 2021
 | Swartland | R 265 per bottle
Red 2020 | Coastal Region | R 345 per bottle
“Ava” Syrah 2021 | Swartland | R 650 per bottle 

Due to the fact that Donovan’s production is relatively small, there is never a lot of wine to go around and therefore, availability on most of the wines is on an allocation basis only with preference given to those customers who have supported the wines over the past few years. Please speak to us about your request and we will confirm availability.

Thank you and please read further below for Donovan’s notes on each of the wines.

Donovan's notes on each wine

Cinsault blanc 2021
“Still the first and only Cinsault blanc bottling available and made from the last 0.2ha of old vines in existence of this forgotten grape. Now in its fifth vintage it’s a wine that gets better every year as we learn more about this vineyard and the variety. 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 qualities but with more layers than past vintages and should gain lovely texture and complexity over the next 5 years. 1,356 bottles produced.”

Grenache blanc 2021
“The main objective for me has always been to make a wine that reflects the fresher and lighter side of this variety. At only 12.5% the 2021 is fine, focussed and has some real energy about it. The main components were sourced from the same high altitude bush vines in the Piekenierskloof but this year for the first time around 10% included in the blend was a small new “stok by paaltjie” vineyard planted on schist right up against the Kasteelberg in the Swartland. 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 8 months on the primary lees in concrete eggs and amphorae before bottling. 4,250 bottles produced.”

”Noa” Chenin blanc 2021 
”The maiden release of Noa. After trial and error on a number of potential old Chenin vineyards grown on the granite soils of the Paardeberg the past few years this 2.1ha site planted in the 1960’s immediately stood out above the rest. As well as now contributing to the Rall white, a selection from this vineyard gets bottled separately for Noa. The grapes were picked earlier than the other parcels and fermented and aged in concrete egg to add texture while still keeping the wine in a very fresh and almost primary state until bottling after 10 months. The result is a wine with great tension, fine texture and racy, lime like acidity. 1,923 bottles produced.”

White 2021
“Consisting of Chenin Blanc 68%, Verdelho 28% and Viognier 4% this wine that started it all for Rall Wines back in 2008 still remains our main focus 15 years on. Grown mainly in granitic soils with all components fermented naturally and matured separately in a combination of 225 and 500 litre seasoned French oak and concrete before blending and bottling after 10 months. The 2021 vintage white has great purity and tension from higher natural acidity and resulting low pH giving an aging potential of easily 10 years from vintage. 9,128 bottles produced.”

”Ava” Chenin blanc 2020
“The 2021 vintage is a selection from the same two vineyards around the Kasteelberg and Riebeeksrivier areas used in 2020. Extremely low yields again give this wine texture without losing the energy that so easily happens to white wines grown on these relentless schist soils. A restraint nose of yellow stone fruit, citrus and hay backed by a very mineral driven palate and a dry, almost pithy finish makes this vintage of Ava chenin the most balanced and my favourite to date. 1,307 bottles produced.”

Cinsault 2021
“In this vintage an almost 50/50 split of the fruit from Darling old vines and bush vines from the Swartland. Both vineyards are grown on iron rich clay soils. Semi-carbonic fermentation occurs naturally using 100% whole-bunches before aging for 8 months in a combination of concrete and seasoned French oak. The 2021 has a slightly darker profile with lively acidity, crunchy tannins, loads of bright red fruit and alcohol of only 12%. 4,390 bottles produced.”

Syrah 2021
”This first release of the Syrah made from one of the schist vineyards used for the Ava, was picked early, fermented naturally with 50% whole bunches and aged only in concrete to preserve the primary fruit and crunchy tannins of Syrah. This wine is all about the freshness while still layered and structured even at a modest alcohol of only 12.5%. 4,250 bottles produced.”

Red 2020
“Syrah 70%, Grenache 12%, Carignan 10% and Cinsault 8%. Black and purple fruit, herbs and pepper from nearly 100% whole-bunch fermentation and a fresh, savoury palate. Matured in old French oak for 10 months before being bottled unfined and almost unfiltered with a further 18 month bottle maturation before release this wine will definitely reward patience and gain complexity over the next decade. 9,185 bottles produced.”

”Ava” Syrah 2020
“Like the Chenin of the same name, this wine is now made from two Schist vineyards around the Riebeeksrivier 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 with 100% whole bunches and matured in seasoned French oak to truly express the place and soil on which it’s grown. Now its fifth release this 2021 is one of the freshest but at the same time one of the most structured vintages to date. It starts with a very delicate nose of purple flowers, fynbos, herbs, even tea and fine spice from the whole bunches. The palate is dense with real fruit intensity and a long savoury finish. Like with the red patience will be rewarded over the next 10 years or more. 1,907 bottles produced.”