Winemaker Annalie van Dyk, who describes this modern cellar among vineyards in a fold of Helderberg Mountain as a ‘gem’, is producing some jewels of her own. New to the collection are two MCC bubblies, joining an exceptional Bordeaux red and unusual blend featuring locally rare tannat (a varietal bottling is mooted). ‘Hard work in the vineyard to improve the quality of our sauvignon blanc’ generated an experimental parcel of barrel-fermented Blanc Fumé, available end-2019 to visitors and Wine Society members. Overall, investment by owner Riaan Stassen has resulted in a ‘wine, dine and art experience’ to dazzle.
Rich & dense, dark fruit & bitter chocolate on more impressive cab-led 2016, with 34% petit verdot, 10% merlot. Similar deft oaking to 2015 (4.5 stars, 92 pts) (18 months in French barrels, 20% new) & slight herbal nuance. All quite compact but streamlined, augurs well for the future.
Spicy dark fruit & cocoa flavours on 2016. Shows more warmth & has more shiraz (80%) in the mix (with tannat & cab) than structured 2015 (4.5 stars, 93 pts). Dry, chalky tannin framework & same oak regime as Hidden Gems.
Similar merlot-led mix in both unoaked dry rosés tasted this edition. 2018 (2.5 stars, 79 pts) more delicate, almost dilute. Fresher 2019 has more fruity verve & character, from a touch more cab. Both light & genial.
Identical blend & time on lees as Brut. 2017 sparkler more of a savoury, cranberry tone, befitting the style, rosy hue from pinot noir skin contact. Similar freshness, with a more piquant twist on the tail. Cellardoor only, as sibling.
Less verve, complexity & flavour in 2018 (3 stars, 80 pts). Softer, muted dried vegetation impression, also more alcohol (13.9%) than 2019, also tasted, which has fresher, brighter stonefruit flavours. Both less impressive than more complex 2017 (4 stars, 89 pts).