Now a 50-50 blend of Syrah and Cinsault, this is a wine that's certainly grown up in the last few years. The Syrah comes through beautifully on the nose - a crack of black pepper over gentle sage, clove and herbal notes, with some liquorice and berries too. It's very nicely structured, with focused tannins, sappy notes and a very long, mouthwatering finish. This wine was made for the first time in the vineyard's 65th year after years of the farmer battling with birds pecking the grapes resulting in rot, or sheep simply eating everything in sight. When the farmer did have a successful harvest the fruit went to one of the larger local wineries. Having been formally retired from service in its 63rd year, Pieter took his chance and snuck in. Several years careful nursing and recuperation farming, plus bird nets and a better fence and here it is - Retirement @ 65.
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.