The Brookdale Estate, situated at the foot of the lofty Du Toitskloof Pass in Paarl, is a very impressive boutique winery owned by Englishman Tim Rudd and is planted with not only 25+ year old Chenin Blanc vines but also several other special Chenin Blanc blocks that are now over 35 years old and certified under the Old Vine Project as Heritage Vines. When Tim Rudd bought the farm, most of the existing vineyards were in very poor condition necessitating their removal to make way for broad new plantings of not only Syrah but also several massive white and red field blends.
I believe the field blend plantings were initially inspired by Duncan Savage, the original consulting winemaker at Brookdale until Kiara Scott took over the winemaking, producing Brookdale’s third vintage of premium Chenin Blanc in 2019. But when I visited the estate back in 2018 to meet Tim Rudd for the first time, I was fascinated by these impressive field blend plantings which contained a broad array of varieties.
So it was with great excitement and anticipation that I sat down recently with a bottle of the maiden Brookdale Field Blend 2021 to assess this fascinating young vine wine. Having recently tasted and reviewed the excellent white field blend from Jonkershoek Valley winery Stark Conde, I looked forward to cracking this maiden release from Tim Rudd and Kiara Scott and comparing the viticultural theory with what was actually bottled.
The Sixteen Field Blend is comprised of 16 different varietals, interplanted as bush vines and essentially seeks to recapture the lost art of field blend winemaking as practiced all over Europe in the last century before the rise of mono-culture winemaking.
Brookdale Estate Sixteen White Field Blend 2021, WO Paarl, 14% Abv.
The aromatics are classical yet ever so slightly exotic all at once with a pronounced dusty granitic minerality fading into dried baking herbs, sage, jasmine, dried stable straw, desiccated coconut and acacia honey on warm buttered white toast. The palate is silky, crystalline, fresh and lithe with plenty of front palate peach, apricot, honied fruit concentration on the entry before the wine’s gravelly minerality reasserts itself again to offer a complex liquid minerality with appealing wet river pebble nuances. Such a wonderfully considered and intricate wine in its maiden release with a beautiful green apple, nectarine and stone fruit depth, harmonious glycerol waves of texture and an impressive resinous fine wine palate breadth. Drink this on release or watch it evolve in unknown directions over the next 6 to 8+ years.
The Brookdale wines are exclusively imported and distributed in the UK by South African fine wine specialist, Museum Wines. http://www.museumwines.co.uk
(Wine Safari Score: 94+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)