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Winery of the Week: Johan Meyer Wines

Energetic Johan Meyer - he also collaborates with two fellow young guns on stellar Mount Abora Vineyards - reserves his Signature wines for special parcels of pinot noir and chardonnay, from Elgin to Elandskloof to the Cape South Coast. He's true throughout to the tenets of non-interventionist winemaking, spending time with growers, advancing sustainable and organic farming methods. In the Mother Rock and Force Majeure ranges (the latter untasted this edition), Johan takes his most radical stance in terms of ‘natural’ winemaking. These portfolios, co-owned with UK importer Ben Henshaw, seek to express Swartland’s soils, slopes and climate. Practices like early picking and skin contact for whites, and old-oak maturation make for idiosyncratically delicious, cerebral and ‘geeky’ wines.


JH Meyer Signature Wines Elands River Pinot Noir 2017

(90 pts)

Single Vineyards range
Category: Pinot noir

From Elandskloof fruit, 2017 more fruit-filled than Elgin sibling, with caramel & baked strawberry tones, crushed sage note. Broader, too, with more tannic grip. Last-tasted was 2014 (3.5 stars, 85 pts).

Wine tasted by Newcomer/Returnee Team 9.

JH Meyer Signature Wines Palmiet Chardonnay 2017

(93 pts)

Single Vineyards range
Category: Chardonnay wooded

Adds Elgin origin to name. 2017 no shrinking violet; intense citrus, white pear & lime underpinned by wet stone minerality. Precise, linear & very dry. Minute portion oaked, naturally fermented. Last-tasted was 2014 (4 stars, 86 pts).

Wine tasted by Newcomer/Returnee Team 9.

JH Meyer Signature Wines Palmiet Pinot Noir 2017

(93 pts)

Single Vineyards range
Category: Pinot noir

Effortless 2017 an ethereal beauty from Elgin with delicate raspberry & cherry fruit, tealeaf & seagrass nuances. Modest 12.5% alcohol but convincing grip & focus. Wholebunch fermentation, 8 weeks on skins, no new oak or additives; as for Elands River. Last tasted was 2015 (4 stars, 87 pts).

Wine tasted by Newcomer/Returnee Team 9.

JH Meyer Signature Wines Pinot Noir NSA 2017

(88 pts)

Single Vineyards range
Category: Pinot noir

No sulphur added to 2017, from Cape South Coast. Very pretty musk & sugared strawberry fruit, dainty earthiness, spicy whiffs, variety’s hallmark acidity: ticks all the pinot boxes. Like rest of range, not only for fans of the ‘natural’ wave.

Wine tasted by Newcomer/Returnee Team 9.

Mother Rock Wines Grenache 2017

(90 pts)

Mother Rock range
Category: Grenache noir

While not from one of the permitted red grapes of France’s Jura, 2017 reminiscent of that area’s crystalline fruit purity (raspberry/strawberry) & delicacy that belie considerable depth, complexity. Also well-judged grip & dryness; altogether a captivating glassful.

Wine tasted by Newcomer/Returnee Team 9.

Mother Rock Wines Holocene 2017

(90 pts)

Mother Rock range
Category: Red blends, other

Mediterranean-style red blend with cinsaut (50%) & equal carignan & mourvèdre, exceptionally pure red fruit in 2017 supported by lively acidity, given form by powder-fine tannin.

Wine tasted by Newcomer/Returnee Team 9.

Mother Rock Wines Kweperfontein Chenin Blanc 2017

(87 pts)

Mother Rock range
Category: Chenin blanc wooded, dry

More about site expression than fruit, 2017 textured & vibrant, with lemon zest, green melon & a citrus pithiness; satisfying mouthful at just 12.5% alcohol. Not for everyone, but a clever take on natural winemaking.

Wine tasted by Newcomer/Returnee Team 9.

Mother Rock Wines Liquid Skin 2017

(90 pts)

Mother Rock range
Category: Chenin blanc wooded, dry

Utterly thrilling ‘orange wine’ from chenin, 2017 8 weeks on skins & showing prominent tannins along with the peach, pear & lemon fruit. Well integrated, lifted by fine acidity. Like 2015 (93 pts), non-mainstream but so carefully done, you might not notice! 2016 untasted.

Wine tasted by Newcomer/Returnee Team 9.

Mother Rock Wines Syrah 2017

(85 pts)

Mother Rock range
Category: Shiraz/syrah

Bunch ferment, minimal interference, no new oak & minuscule production, as all these. Velvet-textured 2015 (4 stars, 87 pts) followed by edgier & dark 2017, with black & red berries, peppery whiff. 2016 untasted.

Wine tasted by Newcomer/Returnee Team 9.

Mother Rock Wines White 2017

(89 pts)

Mother Rock range
Category: White blends, wooded, dry

Partly skin-fermented creative blend chenin with viognier, semillon, grenache blanc & hárslevelü, 2017 beautifully subtle statement of white pear & lemon, pleasing grainy tannins, touch pithy bitterness in very good example of style.

Wine tasted by Newcomer/Returnee Team 9.