This is a story of very creative and budget-friendly wine-making that goes back to 2013 when Pieter Walser was on the hunt for excellent fruit sources, but was a little strapped for cash. At the time there were rumours going round about about a new series of consultants in town to sift through the huge amount of Bordeaux vineyards on offer to pick only the very best for SA's very only Screaming Eagle. On spotting a picking team wearing white surgical gloves, Pieter asked the farmer if he could buy the grapes as close as possible to the piece going to the White Gloves. And this is his confession of how he started chasing the white gloves! It's a remarkable wine - graceful yet with terrific concentration, velvety with a savoury, earthy touch making it very complex. For me this is reminiscent of a New World St Estephe.
The tale behind the name BLANKbottle is that when Pieter was starting out, he made a small parcel of Shiraz and was left with a few unlabelled cases. One day, a woman wanted to buy a wine – “Anything but Shiraz,” she told him. Pieter shrugged and sold her the unlabelled Shiraz, neglecting to mention the variety. A few weeks later she returned demanding more, saying it was the best thing she’d ever drunk. For Pieter, it was a lesson on the gap between what people think they like (or dislike) and what they actually like (or dislike). After that, he decided not to list the varieties on his labels. Every one of Pieter’s wines is a story, rather than a grape variety, and it’s the juice inside the bottle which reveals that story. He doesn’t own any vines, but instead scours South Africa’s winelands for top-quality fruit that has somehow slipped under the radar, now sourcing from nearly 70 sites. Some years he’ll make 20 wines, other years 35. With the benefit of anonymity, variety and regional identity take a back seat while parcel expression does the driving. These are some of South Africa’s most original wines, made by one of South Africa’s most original winemakers.