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Driven by a desire to make individual, superb quality wines with exceptional character The Drift wines are carefully crafted by winemaker Bruce Jack using only grapes grown on the farm. The Drift specializes in four wines - a single vineyard Rosé, a single vineyard Pinot Noir, a single vineyard Barbera and a blended red wine from various varieties and vineyard sites on the farm.
This Barbera vineyard is very small – 0.4 ha. crops are kept very low, only allowing one bunch per shoot. The rest is sacrifised to the soil, the porcupines and mountain buck. The porcupine in particular have a feast. Planted in 2002, like the Mysteries Pinot Noir, the vineyard has settled down into a natural balance between vegetative growth and fruit production which they expect at around 3.5 tons of fruit per hectare. Planted on a mixture of decomposed granite, sandstone and rocky substrate (with calcified limestone) mostly from the weathered mountainside (although there is some very leached white porcelain clay around as well) this vineyard reflects the minerality in the soil.
The block is hand-picked in three or four passes over a week. The grapes are fermented in open top fermentors with 25% whole bunches. the tanks are small vessels and are hand plunged 5 or 6 times a day. Fermented wild, these can take a while to complete fermentation. We then age the wine in 225 litre barrels, mostly old, for 18 months.
It has a full-on nose, packed with concentrated mulberry, black fruits and ridiculously ripe cherry. But it’s the spice and herbaciousness that marks this wine as different. 2015, being a cool year on The Drift, means the fynbos and garden herbs are central but more of a seasoning than being at the forefront. This allows the wine to show an explosion of dark, black, inky fruit on the palate. The wine is rich, but fresh, with clean, refreshing acidity and soft, luscious tannins. If cellared correctly this vintage will live for twenty years easily, but is drinking very well now because of the softness.
If you like what Bruce has done here then you must try the Bowwood Pinotage, a partnership between Bruce and Vondeling.
An incredible wine! So much intensity and yet so balanced.
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