Rocking Horse 2014

Cape White Blend

Tasting Notes

Rocking Horse is our cornerstone wine and takes its name from a wooden rocking horse that we made for our daughters out of old oak barrel staves.

The wine is composed from a number of carefully selected vineyard sites in the Western Cape. The aromas are of gooseberry, clementine/naartjie peel, peach, lavender, rosemary and burnt sugar. In the mouth, the wine starts broad and rich, resolving into a keen line of acidity and pithy tannin that finishes on an oyster­bed salinity.

Nuts & Bolts

Chenin blanc – 37% Bottelary 34 years old and Swartland 20 years old – granite soils
Roussanne – 28% Voor Paardeberg – 9 years old clay/decomposed granite
Semillon blanc and gris – 22% Franschhoek – 31 years old – alluvial soils
Chardonnay – 13% 23 years old – clay/shale soils

WO Western Cape
Alcohol – 13.1%; Residual sugar – 2.7 g/L; Total acidity – 5.3 g/L; pH 3.36

About The Wine

Rocking Horse is our cornerstone wine. I’ve always thought of myself as primarily a white wine maker so this wine is something I have dreamed about making for a very long time. A Cape white blend that is the result of hand­picking intriguing parcels of grapes and hand­crafting the wine from start to finish.

In putting together our Rocking Horse blend we have drawn on some of the wonderful parcels of old vines that are still found throughout the Cape winelands. We look for vineyards that can deliver the depth, texture and nuances that help to build an intriguing blend. Roussanne, Chardonnay, Semillon and Chenin blanc all bring their own unique elements and ability to ‘speak’ about the place in which they are grown.

The winemaking is simple, but a lot of hand-s­on care (and an enormous amount of blood, sweat and tears) goes into ensuring that the parcels are picked at the best time , the grapes arrive at the winery in really good condition and that the process of the winemaking itself is always in line with our wish to create beautifully structured wines with as natural an expression of the vineyards as possible.

Picking is done early and based mostly on taste with an eye on the style of the wine that I’m aiming at. I am not looking for a big alcohol expression (nor a low alcohol one for that matter) and prefer subtle wines that show ripeness, while being restrained and elegant.

The grapes are whole bunch pressed and no treatments or additions are used on the juice. This hands-­off regime on the juice really helps to develop the character of the wine.

The juice is then racked off the heavy solids and taken to old oak barrels of various volumes, from the smaller 228L burgundian pieces to the larger 600L barrels. I don’t have any new oak barrels in the cellar and most of the barrels range from 4­8 years old when I start using them. The wines are fermented naturally, and they are allowed to then go through their subsequent malolactic fermentation to further soften the wines. I watch them carefully for the next few months until they ‘settle down’, at which point I add a bit of sulphur dioxide to slow down the development during barrel ageing. Primary fruit is not what we are looking for here, rather we’re trying to show the underlying character of the grapes and the vineyard where they came from.