Little Karoo’s Montagu whites raising eyebrows in London…

I have to admit that I have not yet met the young, dynamic winemaker Reenen Borman of Patatsfontein and Boschkloof fame. I grew up drinking the wines made by his father Jacques Borman, who worked at Simonsig until 1984 before moving to the Rupert Family’s La Motte Estate.

Working at La Motte until 2003, who can forget the peppery, savoury, spicy old world inspired Shiraz wines Jacques made there including the first ever Platter 5 star Shiraz. Even his Millennium Bordeaux blend was an accomplished wine winning multiple international awards. While the Boschkloof wines have taken the industry by storm, none more so than the Epilque Syrah, with its recent 98 point score from critic Tim Atkin MW,  it’s the quirky venture from Keisie Valley, Montagu that has caught my attention. 

Growing up in the Cape in the late 70s, many a family weekend was spent in Montagu swimming in the famous hot springs. Never did I imagine the name would become synonymous with fine wine one day! This new venture was formed between Reenen Borman, together with financier Henk Kotze and Fritz Schoon, a Stellenbosch baking businessman who also has a family farm in Montagu, where a small 0.6ha 30 year old Chenin Blanc vineyard is located. 

I understand we have Chris “Butch” Alheit, from Alheit Family Wines, to thank for tracking this Montagu vineyard down and identifying its long term potential, allowing for the fruit to be pulled out of the local co-op blend. Well done Butch.

I look forward to reviewing both the Patatsfontein Steen (Chenin Blanc) 2015, first tasted in Cape Town back in March, and the Boschkloof Epilogue in the near future but also watching how this “N Versnit Wit” Patatsblanc helps change local and international perceptions surrounding the humble Colombard grape.

Tasting Note: The Patatsblanc 2015 is a 90% Colombard and 10% Chenin Blanc blend but is not a second wine to the Patatsfontein Chenin Blanc. It’s a serious effort in its own right and shows fine floral notes of white blossoms, orange peel, crunchy white peaches, and a faint complexing hint of stem ginger. In its youth, it’s braizenly tight and linear with peppery pithy yellow fruits, dusty gravel minerality and fine fresh acidity. Being under screw cap surely intensifies its taughtness. As it develops in the glass, a few more honied, yellow stone fruits develop coming from the Chenin Blanc component. The texture remains elegantly tightly coiled and slightly glassy as it slips down the throat. This wine is very juicy and moreish and I can see it blossoming into something even more complex and intriguing with perhaps another year or two in bottle. Drink now or comfortably over 5+ years. (Wine Safari Score: 91+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

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