The maiden 2013 Gift Horse is a pure Barbera, a variety not associated with South Africa. It comes from the only registered single .33-hectare vineyard dedicated to Barbera in the country that produces between one and two tons per year. It is made with 25% whole bunch with stems to get a bit of carbonic maceration. Deep purple in color, it has a very aromatic nose filled with blackberry, incense, dried violets and intense fynbos scents that speak of the place. The palate is medium-bodied, sensual in the mouth with fine tannin and well judged acidity. There are hints of white pepper, white fennel and Chinese five-spice infusing the black and red fruit, seguing into a beautifully composed finish. A quite astonishing and unique wine, though afford it several hours decanting, or even don’t be afraid to open it the day before.
Bruce Jack showed me two wines from his family farm not far from Napier. The Barbera blew my socks off with its purity and stylishness. I was completely smitten under my usual stoic facade (I think my eyebrows twitch – that often gives it away). Perhaps I just wasn’t anticipating an Italian variety showing such class in South Africa, but there you go. Both wines come recommended although I am unsure whether much finds itself in the United States.