After several vintages in the US before joining US/SA-owned Vilafonté in Stellenbosch, winemaker Martin Smith has consolidated and expanded this solo venture (named for the Passeriformes order of birds, including swifts and swallows) in partnership with investor Ndabe Mareda. The duo will focus on three terroirs: Tulbagh, including two hectares of newly planted cabernet; Elgin, their chardonnay source; and Franschhoek, where there's a tasting venue, ‘something modern that complements Mother Nature’.
Stellar 2015 (), like 2014, from Elgin fruit; alluring aromas of yellow stonefruit, honey & kumquat; classically structured, with bright acidity balancing mid-palate richness, extending the fine mineral finish. Expertly executed oaking, 30% new French.
Striking combo petit verdot & cab (51/42), splash rare-in-SA carmenère, 2015 purple-inky hue, intense cassis, mulberry & blueberry fruits nuanced with lead pencil on nose, spice & meat on palate. Firm tannin approachable now but for cellaring, too. Stellenbosch & Philadelphia fruit.
Southern Rhône blend of syrah & co-fermented carignan & mourvèdre from Tulbagh vines, 2015 sleek & detailed, reveals plethora of dark fruits, red berries & spice, the youthful & savoury tannins well tamed & integrated, as is 16 months oak, 3rd & 4th fill.