Great vintages like 2015 do not just produce excellent top cuvée wines, they also offer the opportunity to buy ‘deep’. Essentially, second wines from great vintages are wines to look out for. With their Family Vineyards Pinot Noir now well established as one of the most highly rated in South Africa, Gordon and Nadia Newton Johnson’s impressive touch with Pinot is evident in the latest release of the Walker Bay Pinot Noir 2015. As their second label, produced in the same elegant house style and from the near-perfect 2015 vintage, it offers exceptional value.
It starts in the vineyard; the fruit for the Walker Bay Pinot Noir 2015 comes from 15-year-old vineyards carefully planted to better sites and soils. According to Gordon and Nadia, these have the potential to outperform the older vineyards currently used for the top cuvées.
These wines are treated carefully and quite traditionally. Fermentation is natural and only a ‘discretionary’ number of whole bunches are added. They give careful attention to oaking, using only 228ℓ and 500ℓ Burgundian barrels of a tighter grain, lighter seasoning and lower toasting. The Walker Bay Pinot 2015, made in the Newton Johnson ‘house style’, is elegant and fine-fruited with lovely tea leaf, spice and a savoury note to balance the fruit.
Newton Johnson, Walker Bay Pinot Noir 2015 – R 205
Bright cherry fruit, tea leaf, spice and attractive undergrowth notes all conspire to bring us a beautiful nuanced house style wine from Newton Johnson. There is great purity of fruit but it is gracefully backward. The fruit is wonderfully balanced by spice and a savoury thread. This is a light, lively Pinot Noir with delicious poise. Drink: 2018 – 2020. – James Pietersen (March 2017)