After a short hiatus, where Ringo went to live on a boat of the coast of Sardinia, it’s time to get the old Oddbins Blog band back together and release the wine world’s “Octopuses’ Garden,” it’s about to get psychedelic up in here.
For our first blog back, we thought it appropriate to discuss one of our favourite, and slightly underrated, winemaking nations. No, not Wakanda. You millennials and your superheroes…today we’re discussing South Africa.
Many people, Oddbins included, think of South Africa as a bridge between the old world and new world. The first reason for this is its long history of wine production. Ok, neither the Greeks nor Romans managed to make it to the Western Cape and stick some vines in the ground, however wine has been made in South Africa since the 17th Century. In fact, it is widely reported that Napoleon got through a bottle of Vin de Constance (legendary sweet wine of Constantia, SA) a day, while in exile on Elba.
The second reason is that South Africa has all the varietal labelling and fruit definition of the new world yet with a subtlety and elegance in their wines you could easily confuse with France or Italy.
South Africa has of course had their hard years, a result of which was a decidedly poor wine scene. However, having now emerged from the shadow of apartheid South African wine has markedly improved and the country is now home to some of the most fearless and experimental producers on the planet. At Oddbins, we get excited about a winemaker who does things a little differently. Thus, we’ve highlighted two trailblazing South African producers, new to Oddbins’ stores, whose wines are well worth a try…
Thorne and Daughters was started in 2012 by John and Tasha Seccombe to produce authentic wines in the beautiful Western Cape, where they grow vines and raise daughters, like their name suggests. Their winemaking approach is simple; they’ve taken old, well-established parcels of land and experimented with growing new varietals on them until they find the best match. In the winery, they keep things simpler still. Taking a hands-off approach, the wines are fermented naturally, and any additions made during the fermentation process are kept to an absolute minimum. The result is a portfolio of wines that show a true expression of the varietals and the land they were grown on.
The Liberator is both the project and nickname of South African Master of Wine Richard Kelly, who spends his time going on the hunt for wines that truly excite him outside South Africa’s traditional wine regions. This project backs up Rick’s belief that these unconventional vineyard regions hold great vinous treasures; forgotten, abandoned or simply undiscovered. No one bottle is alike, representing a single discovery, each one is unique and finite.