Sometimes, consumer trends are set by the new kids on the block… like Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. But when you learn that varieties like Colombard have been planted in the Cape since the early 1700’s, you realise that maybe we should all be taking another look at the potential of some of these latter-day unsung hero varieties. This is exactly what Ian Naude has been doing with a wonderful old vine Colombard vineyard planted in the Vredendal area in 1983.
Grown on soils that are almost 100% sand where flood irrigation is still the order of the day, the grapes were picked into small crates and then whole bunch pressed before undergoing natural fermentation after around three days maceration. Thereafter, the wine was kept on its fine lees for as long as possible to develop extra aromatic and textural complexity before being bottled as naturally as possible.
Picking up the reins of an established variety is one thing, but doing so with a complete outsider grape that has hardly ever been considered good enough for anything other than brandy distillation is another. Yet again, the maverick old vine innovator Ian Naude has struck a rich seam of vinous gold with his mouth-watering Langpad Colomard.
Naude Family Wines Old Vines Langpad Colombard 2021, WO Western Cape, 12% Abv.
1.3 g/l RS | 6.1 g/l TA | 3.3 pH
This second vintage of Naude’s old vine Colombard is something very special. Whether it’s all down to vintage quality or Ian’s swift mastering of this new grape in his repertoire I don’t know. The aromatics are positively explosive with rich intense notes of green apple pastille, crunchy white peaches, pear puree, dried herbs, wet hay and a seductive rich seam of cream soda. On the palate, there seems to be even more concentration and flavour intensity than the impressive maiden 2020 with these happy old vines spinning their spellbinding magic and delivering a wine with layer upon layer of enchanting peachy fruit, seductive hints of ripe guava, pear, quince and an underlying basaltic stony minerality that combines with a pronounced maritime salinity and a bright tart freshness. It is perhaps the almost volcanic feel to the minerality that makes many fans suggest that this wine reminds them of an old vine Assyrtiko wine from the Greek island of Santorini. Cool, crystalline and intense, this pristine white leaves little to the imagination and smothers the senses in pure, crystalline West Coast pleasure. Drink now on release or age for 5 to 8+ years.
(Wine Safari Score: 95+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
Wines available in the UK from Museum Wines, Handford Wines and Vino SA.