From a high elevation vineyard in the Ceres Plateau, 750 metres above sea level, the 2021 is that little bit more serious than some of the prettier, lighter previous releases, and inkier in the glass and is really quite St Joseph like. The fruit is darker, with broody blackberry and apple, with a dense core of fruit and meaty hint too generously sprinkled with pepper, and fine tannin backbone. There's a touch more grip too, with refreshing finish and fine acidity. Take a sip and one can almost feel you're sitting mountainside on a rocky outcrop with the wind blowing in your hair. The beautifully detailed label shows the winding road of the mountain pass where the vineyard sits, harking back to the day Pieter came across a young boy by the name of William on the road.
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.
FROM THE PRESS
“Fragrant as only cool-sited Syrah can be, but not at all herbal. Fine and peppery. You can taste the sunlight here – the fruit is dark and ripe without being in the least sweet. Super-fine tannins already resolved but perfectly present. Savoury, mouth-watering purity. Drink 2022-2028”Julia Harding MW, Jancisrobinson.com