Spice Route Swartland Pinotage 2016  £14.95

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Charles Back was a pioneer in the Swartland when he started Spice Route in 1998. “Without [Charles]…the Swartland would still be regarded as a rural backwater” wrote Tim Atkin. Today, the region is the source of many of South Africa’s outstanding wines, yet Spice Route remains one of the best and most credible producers in the region, due largely to the fact that they own their own vineyards. Spice Route’s 100 hectares of vineyards are situated in Malmesbury and Darling. The former, all bush trained on Malmesbury shale and red clay subsoils (the clay ensures the vineyards are dry grown), give the Grenache and Mourvèdre the intensity of fruit that makes this region so exciting. Winemaker Charl du Plessis has been with Charles for 15 years, and knows the region intimately. The winemaking is ‘hands off’, as Charl is keen to capture the flavours and structure of the outstanding fruit he has grown.

This wine is made from a single bushvine vineyard on the farm, Klein Amoskuil in Malmesbury. These un-irrigated bushvines were planted in 1997 on Koffieklip soil.

2016 was a very dry vintage, which led to a smaller crop but the vines were healthy vines and produced concentrated fruit.

The bunches were fermented in five ton open concrete fermenters with manual punch-down of the skins twice a day, extracting deep colour and flavour. The wine was pressed off and transferred to tight-grain American oak barrels for malolactic fermentation, of which half were seasoned barrels. The wine matured for 14 months before bottling.

This Pinotage has an intense ruby red colour, with rich blackcurrant and cherry aromas. On the palate, there are intense dark fruit flavours that combine well with sweet vanilla oak aromas.


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