Tasting with master winemaker Ian Naude can be quite a testing affair. If you are lucky enough to be invited into his inner sanctum of wine production to behold his new “babies” pre-release, he certainly keeps you on your toes. When tasting from tank or barrel, Ian appears to almost seek one’s confirmation or approval that he has not messed up the new vintage, when in actual fact, you’re normally in such awe of what you are tasting that his initial panic seems nearly incomprehensible. Ian has certainly never bottled any wine with his own name on the label that he does not think is worth its salt and this new 2022 Old Vine Langpad Colombard is no different.
Post Covid pandemic, I made my first return visit to the Cape just over two years to the day after my last visit when the travel ban to South Africa was lifted, and it was during this visit in March 2022 that I sampled the Langpad 2022 from stainless steel tank shortly after it had finished fermentation. We even filled a small PET bottle and took it home to retaste around a braai. Textural, rich, fresh, dry and utterly delicious… the new release date could not come quick enough.
The 2022 vintage was a cooler season with moderate weather conditions during harvest time that slowed down ripening and gave the vines the opportunity to develop extra flavours and colour. For Naude Family Wines, harvest was delayed by up to 10 to 14 days and the crop was around 5% lower than the 2021 vintage, but still larger than the five-year average. The old vine Colombard was harvested with good flavour and sugar ripeness, slightly lower acids but higher pH levels giving the 2022 Langpad an almost sweet-sour flavour intensity on the palate. As usual, all the requisite rugged West Coast maritime salinity and briney characteristics are present making for a true terroir expression once again.
Naude Family Wines Langpad Old Vine Colombard 2022, WO Western Cape, 11% Abv.
1.2 g/l RS | 6.6 g/l TA | 3.58 pH
I remember tasting this wine after fermentation in March 2022 and thinking that this wine was, yet again, something very special. Despite being an exceptional and intuitive winemaker, Ian Naude has continued to learn, building his old vine Colombard knowledge vintage to vintage, and in this exceptional third vintage, he has captured something very close to the true essence of this barren old vine Koekenaap West Coast vineyard that I finally visited in October 2022. For a young Colombard vintage, the 2022 seems more serious, more mineral and stonier, with less of the crème soda and green rock candy notes that initially tend to dominate the aromatics before blowing off to reveal the true coastal maritime salinity. There is a pronounced wet grey slate and petrichor note over hints of peach stone, lime blossom, rock salt and crunchy green pear. The palate is every bit as pleasing when I tasted the freshly fermented wine out of tank, with a rich, dense, glycerol mouthfeel packed full of salty white peaches, green apple, sour pear drops and a wet river pebble minerality. The lees ageing in tank has added a fabulous extra textural dimension and depth that plays synergistically to this grape variety’s true characteristics. Simply delicious. Drink this on release and over the next 10 to 12+ years.
(Wine Safari Score: 95/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
The Naudé Family Wines are imported exclusively into the UK by South African specialist merchant Museum Wines and the retail price is circa £32pb for the 2022 vintage. http://www.museumwines.co.uk