This deliciously complex white is a barrel-fermented blend of 54% Roussanne, 30% Chenin Blanc, 9% Verdelho and 7% Viognier. All sourced from a single vineyard at the entrance of the Stark-Conde Oude Nektar farm, it is planted to a mix of varietals in order to match the complex mosaic of soil types found on this unique plot of land. The grapes are all picked at the same time, pressed and co-fermented together as a genuine field blend.
Stark-Conde Field Blend 2021, WO Jonkershoek Valley, Stellenbosch, 13% Abv.
Very Southern Rhone in its varietal mix, but decidedly Mediterranean on the nose with lifted aromatics of wild garlic leaf, white blossom, sweet green herbs, bruised apple and subtle waxy incense notes over a dusty, stony granitic minerality. The barrel fermentation lends additional savoury, honied notes of lemon biscuits, warm white toast and peach stone fruits. On the palate there is a fabulous vibrancy and tangy acid freshness of crunchy yellow orchard fruits, white peach, ripe tangerines and a long, slightly pithy, phenolic finish of tart green pears and wet river pebble minerality. The richness and textural generosity of the of the Roussanne and Viognier is beautifully managed, enlivened by the salinity and freshness of the Chenin Blanc and Verdelho. Field blends seem to be the new trend setters for white wines in the Cape and I have not tasted many better than this yet. Another super exciting Cape white blend that expresses its own sense of place. Drink this on release and over the next 6 to 8+ years.
I often say that the best new wine finds are made through wine maker referrals. With the Lysa Verdelho from Guillaume Nell, it is no different. I only got to catch up with Guillaume at the New Wave Tasting in London in September but my friend Ian Naude had already alerted me to his wines many months before.
This note is now perhaps a bit late in the day as Guillaume has sold out most of his wines in the UK after a rock star mention from Jancis Robinson MW in the Financial Times, but nevertheless, I just wanted to document this excellent wine so if for no other reason, I can look back on my tasting notes in years to come and bookend the moment in time that a great new winemaking talent came on to the scene in South Africa! Guillaume is one to watch. If you missed the 2019… I have no doubt his future wines will be every bit as impressive.
Lysa Verdelho 2019, WO Stellenbosch, 13.5 Abv.
A fabulously crystalline bright colour suggests real purity and clarity of fruit flavours. So it’s no surprise that when you stick your nose in the glass you are assaulted but a complex aromatic array of white citrus, green apple pastille, cream soda, wet straw, honeysuckle blossom, tangerine peel and crunchy white peach fruit notes. Thoroughly seductive. The palate doesn’t let up either with an electric acidity that is plugged straight into the mains, intelligently balanced by pristine, crystalline, pure green Granny Smith apple fruit zest, taut sleek white citrus zing, pithy yellow grapefruit and sour nectarine nuances. The concentration is turbo charged and the structure clean, linear and oh so pure with just the right amount of crushed rock minerality on the salty, candied finish. Yes, it’s mind blowingly delicious.
Last year I tasted and reviewed the delicious Verdelho 2015 from Franco Lourens. So I was even more excited to taste his new white blend which still features a sizeable 30% of Verdelho, but is now also accompanied by some white Rhone varietals and a trusty slug of Chenin Blanc.
Lourens Family Wines Lindi Carien White Blend 2016, 13 Abv.
A beautifully complex wine from Franco Lourens with plenty of opulence and allure. Another superbly well constructed white blend using varietals from around the Western Cape that are becoming so well suited to South African terroir. The nose is ripe and expressive, slightly lactic and creamy, brimming with exotic yellow pastille, tinned pineapple, vanilla pod spice and rock candy notes. The palate has laser like freshness and crisp, polished precision. Texturally very fine and focused with wound spring tension, underpinned by bristling acids and a tart pineapple and white citrus vivacity. This is such a distinguished blend with the multiple varieties so tightly interwoven so as to become one entity. Lovers of serious Cape white wines will find this new release hard to resist! So start drinking now until 2025+
Franco Lourens has spent years in the industry learning and refining his craft. He is now assistant winemaker to Chris Alheit at Alheit vineyards.
With all this exposure to diverse winemaking methods and sought after vineyards, it was only natural that Franco wanted to set up his own venture – an idea Chris Alheit strongly encouraged and continues to support to this day.
The 2015 Lindi Carien Verdelho comes from a 21 year old block and is the oldest Verdelho block in South Africa. Franco made this wine so that he could make some extra money to buy his then fiancé an engagement ring. He therefore named his wine in honour of his now ever supporting wife Lindi Carien Lourens.
Lourens Family Wines Lindi Carien Verdelho 2015, WO Stellenbosch,13.5 Abv.
Tasting Note: This is another full, broad, big boned wine. More of a size 16 model than Kate Moss. Lush, fleshy, voluptuous, but texturally elegant. The nose speaks of dusty lemons, pineapple pastille fruits, crunchy yellow peaches and tart green apples. The flavours on the palate crash over your senses like a Jeffrey’s Bay right hand point break. You can feel the winemaker’s passion and intension in this wine, nothing is hidden. There are soft, cool acids backed up by layered, rich, fleshy white fruits, with a long, vibrant finish. An impressive wine, that demands a second glass. (Wine Safari Score: 91+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)