“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 2019 – 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 note
Domaine Marquis d’Angerville Bourgogne Passetoutgrains 2019, Notes of Griotte cherries, red berries and spices introduce the 2019 Bourgogne Passetoutgrains, a medium-bodied wine built with a crunchy core of fruit, tangy acids and melting tannins. It's a fine example of the underrated genre. - William Kelley, The Wine Advocate
Château Musar Red 2016 "Our 2016 vintage is deep ruby in colour with high viscosity. Red cherries, plums, carob and figs dominate the nose with a hint of eastern spice. Kirsch and plums follow through to the palate with blackcurrant and chocolate. The tannins are velvety soft and this wine has a lot of depth and fruit concentration with a long finish. Winemaker's notes
"The 2019 Contraste Tinto is a field blend of sorts—mostly (80%) from 40-year-old vineyards at 450 meters in altitude with separated grapes (Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz) that are co-fermented, with the other 20% from 60-year-old vineyards with a more traditional field blend. It was aged for 16 months in used French oak and comes in at 13.6% alcohol. Showing elegance but reasonable depth, this is even more impressive for its balance, understatement and its structure. As this sat in the glass, it became tastier too. This wine, a classic food wine, has been very consistent, always playing in pretty much the same ballpark when seen young. The only question is the ultimate question: Will it become notably better with a few years of aging? This year's version will improve in the short term (say, the next six to 12 months) and has a pretty good shot to improve in the mid-term too. By how much is a question, however, and it likely won't make very old bones. It's hard to argue too much at this nice price, though. It can be drunk now, but it will certainly be better this summer, and it will hold through the decade, more or less." - Mark Squires, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Château de Saint Cosme Gigondas Rouge 2020, "70% Grenache, 15% Mourvèdre, 14% Syrah, 1% Cinsault. Aged 20% in new oak barrels, 50% in oldervbarrels and 30% in concrete. Organic, cask sample, discreet nose with just a hint of dark fruit and spice. Rich and full on the palate, the fruit ripe and generous. Firm but ripe tannins, the finish just a little drying but will come round." - Jancis Robinson