This 100% Elgin Weisser Riesling is the first vintage since 2012, from a very special vineyard above a small tributary named Jan Niemand. It's an echalas trained vineyard, a style of pruning and training whereas the vine is trained up a single pole like a staircase (hence the label!) most commonly found on the steep slopes of the Mosel and the northern Rhone. It's labour intensive and costly, but known for producing phenomenal quality of fruit, and in turn, wines of distinction, just as we have here. This is limey and stoney, very impressive on the nose, fully dry, with a very long, mouth-watering palate.
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.