BLANKbottle Retirement @ 65 2022 Bottle size: 750ml

South Africa, Darling
R305
In stock
(31 In Stock)

Free shipping on orders over R1500

94
TA
‘Retirement at 65? Let's hope that's not in Pieter Walser's plans, so that he can go on making wines like this Darling assemblage of Cinsault with 44% Syrah. Fermented with around 50% whole bunches, this is "almost a field blend", with plum, bramble and red berry fruit, lots of zip and minerality and sinewy tannins. 2024-29’ – Tim Atkin MW, SA Special Report 2023, 94/100

The Story:

In June 2014, I arrived at a farm in Darling where I was met by a very grumpy farmer. And for good reason I soon learnt. I had bought bits of grapes from the farmer during that year’s harvest (which all turned out really promising) and was doing my annual post-harvest farm visit with a fresh barrel sample for the farmer to taste.

One of his grape clients had previously persuaded him to farm a little Cinsaut vineyard by method of minimum intervention. Not in an organic kind of a way, but more towards a 300% leave-the-vineyard-to-be kind of way.

To make a long story short, due to many contributing factors, all the grapes of this little Cinsaut vineyard ended up going to the pigs and he was blaming his minimum intervention 300% leave-the-vineyard-to-be client for all of this. To make matters worse, for the 62 years prior to this, the vineyard hardly produced grapes sufficient to produce wine with. You see, his grandfather planted the vineyard in 1951 and had still used a horse to plough the land. The vineyard is on the edge of the mountain in a little valley and the only food source around. So as the berries accumulated sugar, the birds would hop from bunch to bunch pricking the berries with their beaks, causing them to rot. And by the time the grapes ripened there weren’t much left. Now things like this interest me. I asked him if we could give it one more try.

He reluctantly agreed on the condition that he farms the block the way he believes one should. I, in turn, agreed to buy bird nets to cover the vines and we had a deal. So in mid 2014 the vines were neatly pruned and he took care of the weeds. That spring, after bud break, the first soft green shoots appeared. Everything looked good! Then, one Sunday afternoon, I received a photo on whatsapp. It was the vineyard in question with about 20 odd sheep feeding in the vineyard and no sign of the newly formed soft shoots - only brown stumps remaining as the vineyard celebrated it’s 64th birthday. Late that Friday night his sheep had broken through the fence and ate everything green in colour. So there went another crop and the farmer got even more despondent.

But he didn't give up and so, in June 2015, he raised the fence. In early November we covered the whole vineyard in bird nets. Finally, in February 2016 (for the first time in 65 years!) the vineyard survived the onslaught of wild animals roaming the hillsides of Darling and we picked a very small, but healthy, crop.
More Information
Condition New
Winemaker Pieter Walser
Alcohol 12.5%
Body Light-bodied
Blend information 56% Cinsaut and 44% Shiraz
Drink to Drink or cellar
Variety Blend
Rating TA 94
Technical analysis RS: 1.3 g/l | TA: 4.68 g/l | PH: 3.69
Producer information Pieter Walser is one of the most innovative winemakers in the world, and is the producer of some of SA's most coveted wines that you've probably never tasted. Within BLANKbottle there are no 2 wines alike and about 30% of the wines are once-off limited editions. Pieter crafts unique wine blends, picking about 35 grape varieties from 60 vineyards around the Cape. Each of his wines is bottled and labelled according to the unique story behind it. The main aim of BLANKbottle wines is to provide an honest, personal taste with no preconceived expectations that come with certain vintages or styles.
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