Named after Franco Lourens’ father, whose image features on the label, this is a such a charming red blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah, all sourced from dryfarmed bush vines in the Swartland. The whole bunches bring gorgeous perfume, not just bright fruit, but lots of freshly cracked black peppercorns over pomegranate, pretty florals and hints of Asian spice. Such vibrancy on the palate with tissue paper fine tannins.
Franco Lourens spent some years working with the great Chris Alheit before setting to focus entirely on his own range of wines. This is a breathtakingly self-assured range and in just a few vintages, places Franco into the very top bracket of top-end New Wave SA producers. Whilst still extremely modest, he is inevitably set to join the likes of Chris Alheit, Eben Sadie, Adi Badenhorst, Duncan Savage et alia in the shimmering constellation of New Wave South African stars. Sharing cellar space with good friend Lukas Van Loggerenberg, Franco works with a variety of sites across the Western Cape including the country's oldest Verdelho vineyard, and two exceptional sites in Piekenierskloof.
FROM THE PRESS
“Undergoing 80% whole cluster ferment and 10 months in used French oak, the 2021 Howard John Red Blend has a well-defined, perfumed bouquet with red berry fruit, Earl Grey, touches of wild fennel and cracked black pepper. The palate is medium-bodied with a fleshy, caressing opening, pure red cherries and crushed strawberry with quite a sweet, ample finish. This is a lovely Rhône blend - very seductive. Drink 2023 - 2035”Neal Martin, Vinous
“Enticing aromatics of red berries, floral perfume, herbs and spice while the palate is wonderfully energetic – pure fruit, really bright acidity and powdery tannins, the finish having a saline quality. This is nicely weighted with an alcohol of 13% – not too slight but still elegant. 95pts.”Christian Eedes, Winemag.co.za