Smuggler's Boot, GSM Blend 750ml 2016South Africa, Western Cape
In 2014, The Smuggler’s Boot wines were first released. The name derives from the time of trade embargoes in South Africa when growers & winemakers smuggled grapevine material into the country by hiding the cuttings in Wellington boots. The Smuggler’s Boot range celebrates that ingenuity.
To celebrate their ingenuity they would to present this medium-bodied unwooded Grenache/Mourvédre/Syrah blend. Light crimson colour with hints of raspberries, cracked black pepper and molasses. Pair with lamb and semi-hard cheeses.
'Easygoing but not trivial 2016 blend 55% grenache with mourvèdre & a little shiraz. Fresh & pure, with some wildness on the perfume; no great intensity & a modest tannic tug. Very light oaking.' – Platter's Wine Guide 2019, 88/100
'Attractive bright aromas of raspberry coulis, cracked black pepper and intense blackcurrant pastilles meld with warm demerara sugar. Fresh and juicy on the palate with a rich yet sandy texture, the wine slowly builds up in the mouth as the fine powdery tannins give a frame to the mid palate which will allow the wine to age over the next few years. Complex already with the fleshiness of the Grenache entwined with the meaty edge of the Mourvedre that between them bring flavours of raspberries, molasses, tiffin and red velvet cake to make for a delicious wine that extends far on the finish.' – Winemaker
2016 was notably affected by the weather phenomenon known as El Niño or ENSO (El Niño/Southern Oscillation. Despite winter being fairly dry, it was at least cold with plenty of frosty mornings to allow the vines to go into a proper dormancy. Rain did finally fall in August and September but October, as the ENSO episode took effect, was unusually warm and windy resulting in uneven flowering. This gave rise to smaller berry sizes and with the dry weather, a healthy crop. Further, the hot January affected the ability of the vine to retain much acidity. As a result, the wines have a softer acidity, the fruit concentration is high and the wines have a good flavour profile.
When I put this wine together I was interested in sourcing fruit from areas that although warm get ‘coolish’ nights and in this way produce a wine that has fullness and structure but has that perfumed elegant overlay with some freshness of acidity. At the same time I looked at areas that are able to have a savoury nuance that adds intrigue. As such, I sourced grapes from the southern slopes in Wellington, the newer areas of Swartland and also a drop of Southern Stellenbosch. Once in the cellar the main issue was to capture these elements and not try any winemaking tricks. To this end, the wine is essentially unwooded and the softness is achieved through using breathable plastic eggs and any wood is much older so able to imbue complexity without spicy oak.
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AG: Antonio Galloni of Vinous.com | AM: Allen Meadows of Burghound.com | CE: Christian Eedes of Winemag.co.za | DEC: Decanter | GS: Greg Sherwood MW | JR: JancisRobinson.com | NM: Neal Martin of Vinous.com OM: Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show | PG: Platter's Guide | ST: Stephen Tanzer of Vinous.com | TA: Tim Atkin MW | VIN: Vinous.com | WA: Wine Advocate | WE: Wine Enthusiast | WM: Winemag.co.za Report | WS: Wine Spectator