THERE ARE STILL MYSTERIES
SINGLE VINEYARD PINOT NOIR
“This block is going to get whacked by the South-Easter,” he stated matter-of-factly. I was half sliding, half walking down the steep gravel slope. We were staking out what would eventually become the small vineyard that made this wine.
“Ja, I know, Dad,” I replied over my shoulder, trying to sound confident; trying to sound as though the university education I’d enjoyed was money well spent.
These Pinot vines now gaze out to the south-west, where the sun sets into the sea. This mesmeric view is difficult to turn away from.
Our Drift Estate wines are all unmistakably mountain-born. The crunchiness of elegant red fruit tells you the grapes ripened at altitude. The concentration of aroma and flavour are the result of the wind. And with this Pinot, the crisp, tenacious finish is a cool-climate, mountain signature.
“Does this vineyard need to be this cold?” he asked. “It’s always cold up here.”
“Yes, Dad. It’s Pinot.” I am trying to sound like the guy who’s made the stuff before and really knows what he’s on about. “Pinot can handle the wind.” I pause, trying to line up the next row of stakes that will one day be trellis poles. “And anyway, it doesn’t really gust here, Dad.”
I notice him pause, and straighten up and look down at me for a moment from the edge of the ridge. It was an early spring evening. A few tenacious Jackal Buzzards were still cruising overhead, hoping the late sun would catch scurrying prey in the Renosterbos around us.
He didn’t need to say anything. We were at altitude, about 45kms from the cold ocean to the south, and on a wind-torn, uncomfortably-steep slope. Crucially, we were sinking our hard-earned money into an unproven vineyard area.
When I did my soil tests decades ago, I unearthed this little spur of soil – unlike any I’d ever seen in South Africa. Ancient, decomposed Table Mountain sandstone, mixed with weathered shale and red clay and interspersed with metamorphosed limestone. It looked perfect to grow powerful, yet elegant Pinot Noir. And so it has proved. We produce 7 barrels a year, but only bottle in exceptional years. To date (in 2018) we have only released three vintages from a vineyard planted in 2002.
|2016||Overberg Highlands||100% Pinot Noir||O’Brien|
|Alc %||pH||TA g/L||RS g/L|
|2016||China Wine and Spirit Best Value 2018
Sommelier Wine Awards 2018
|2015||The Global Pinot Noir Masters 2018
Wine Magazine, South Africa
Wine Label Design Awards 2018, South Africa
Platter’s Wine Guide 2019
|2013||Platter’s Wine Guide 2017||4.5 Stars|
|2012||Wine Magazine, South Africa||91 Points|
Try king prawns or slow roasted veal shoulder. It goes with a lot of surprisingly rich foods as well.
WIETA, SAWIS single vineyard