Made from handpicked petit verdot from a high slope on the Stellenbosch mountains facing the Helderburg, together with small proportions of Stelly cab sauv and cab franc. Pieter uses 100% destemmed fruit, working delicately with punchdowns to ensure gentle extraction in order to avoid any harsh tannins.
A word on the label: always doing something original with his labels, Pieter has here taken the two crests of his alma maters, Stellenbosch and Elsenburg universities, and like some latter day Tony Hart, made a brand new crest from the two to represent his his.
Today we're focusing on a wine that takes him back to the place the whole winemaking shebang began for Pieter: Stellenbosch. Empire 2017 took inspiration from Pieter's 'Empire Strikes Back' Stellenbosch white blend - so called in reference to the fact that Pieter feels the unofficial wine empire of Stellenbosch has been unjustly overlooked following the excitement and upheaval of the Swartland Revolution.
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.