It was 41 degrees in Barry’s Barn yesterday and 44 in Malmesbury. Aníbal and Raphael had just arrived from Lisbon to make some un-Eben wine: reductive rather than oxidative, stainless steel instead of wood (ferment and maturation), low alcohol, fresh, single varietal expressions of terroir. An old vine Chenin Blanc (12% alcohol, Barry’s grapes) and old vine Pinotage (13.5%, mine) are on the agenda and the proof of this pudding are both close to the end of fermentation in big fiberglass tanks at Swartland Winery. Of course big is a relative term in the cellar of Andries Blake who produces 25 million litres of wine annually. Some of his stainless steel tanks have a capacity of 100 tons.
Un-Eben in style as Eben Sadie has annexed the rich, oxidative Swartland white blend leaving his imitators scrabbling around in his dust to achieve novelty and listings. Some of the most successful include Billy Hughes’ Nativo 2008 and Pieter Euvrard’s 2009 white, both vibrant contradictions of the Angela meme that new SA brands are mostly mediocre.
Made from grapes grown on his Siebritskloof farm Orangerie, it comes as no surprise to report that this rich blend of Chenin, Sémillon, Chardonnay and Viognier tastes of oranges. Bottled a couple of weeks ago (the Sémillon grapes from neighbour Wedgewood and the rest his own) Pieter’s white is one of the first Siebritskloof terroir wines.
Completely self-taught, Pieter plans to release his white blend in May and the cellar price will be around R55 which looks like setting a new Swartland benchmark, leaving several more fashionable producers R100+ off the pace. “Just the kind of thing the consumer is looking for” says Alton of Balducci’s over a Platinum sushi special for R99. Imagine that: brilliant sashimi, an excellent white and change from R200 (the 10% loyalty discount pays the tip) – and they validate your parking. Living like this gives any member of the ANC Youth League the ability to limbo under a Star Lifestyle Audit better than a double jointed disco dancer from Danang.
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