“Today I’m standing up to defend the EMPIRE – STELLENBOSCH. Silently, she’s been re-aligning her troops and now strikes back at the Swartland to establish herself yet again as a formidable force. The Empire Strikes Back 2018 – An all-STELLENBOSCH white blend of Verdelho from 2 different sites, Roussanne, Marsanne, Chardonnay, Chenin blanc and Viognier. 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.
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.” – Producer’s note
"It was a vintage that gave you the chance to show what you were made of," says Chris Alheit of the "middling 2022 growing season". It certainly did. This is a brilliant cuvée of Chenin Blanc with 8% Semillon, sourced from ten different vineyards. Showing lots of energy from early picked grapes on granite soils, it has fennel, fynbos and lanolin aromas, citrus, green herb and wet stone flavours, and good ageing potential, despite the heat of the vintage." - Tim Atkin MW