Windansea is a large 2.5ha vineyard planted on the highest part of the slope before encountering shallow bedrock and mountainside behind the winery. The shallow, dense clay below the surface is a major feature of the soil and ascribes for the more muscular structure and presence. With majestic views to the sea, the vineyard is also the most exposed to wind and is constantly suppressed in the vigour of its growth. Thicker skins on the berries produce deeper and darker tones. The succulent tang of red and black fruit is persistent in the fringes, but it is the firmer body and backbone that define the wine of the vineyard. The roots find their way early into the heavy clay and even as young vines they deliver these characteristics. The use of whole bunches and stems are especially useful here in helping to accentuate the acidity and spiciness and to align the tannin structure.
Pinot Noir, as we all know, is capricious to grow and often confounding to taste but when everything comes together for good, it is capable of truly spell-binding wine. The Windansea 2018 from Newton Johnson in the Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley is among the very best that I have tasted from South Africa.
Platter’s ****(*) 94/100
Single 2.5 ha, high-lying vineyard, with wind exposure (hence name), resulting in thicker skins, denser structure. Morello cherries, brambleberries, oak-fragrant 2018 seamed with minerality, house-style earthiness. Sleekly muscular but tannins ripe, long life ahead.
Matured for 11 months in 228L barrels produced in Burgundy and custom made for this vineyard. Tighter grained oak is preferred for subtle flavour, with longer seasoning and slower, lower temperature toasting. New oak comprises 28%. The wine is racked to larger 500L oak barrels for another 6 months of élevage. No fining and filtration before bottling.