Big news on the Cape winemaking front is that Duncan Savage has found a new home in Salt River. In 2018, the working cellar will take in grapes from 13 growers around the Western Cape, totaling 70 tons. As Duncan says himself, ‘it’s going to be epic!’
Duncan has decided to release the 2016 reds before the 2015s – a bold move. He says that the 2016s ‘look fantastic, generous and upfront yet retain the classic elegant structure’ compared to the 2015s which are certainly more brooding. Along with the hugely sought-after Follow the Line, the Syrah-based Savage Red 2016 is exquisitely detailed and pure-fruited, albeit slightly softer and earlier drinking. The Cinsaut Grenache Follow the Line reaches a new level of drinkability with this 2016 release.
The 2016 Savage White is now a Cape Blend of enormous decree. The small Chenin component quietly knits the Bordeaux varieties together in a kaleidoscope of flavour and depth. Nothing savage about it really. There is sadly no Girl Next Door this year due to tiny yields, although the 2017 is looking spectacular out of barrel.
The 2016 Are We There Yet is a new Touriga Nacional from Malgas. We have just 60 bottles of this exotic, tamed beast that contrasts the more fragrant and feminine reds.
We must point out and applaud the conservative pricing on these hot new releases from one of the Cape’s real rock stars. Expect his Cape Winemakers Guild offerings to fetch 3 times as much.
Savage, Red 2016 – R 260
If there is one wine in the Savage range that would have embraced the warm, dry growing conditions of 2016, then it must surely be the Savage Red. In 2016, it is comprised of 81% Syrah, 11% Grenache and 8% Cinsaut at 13.5 Abv. Indeed, the Savage Red is often the one specific wine that demands a few extra years in bottle before showing you its full potential. The palate is so fleshy and forward with accessibly soft, harmonious tannins and sleek vibrant acids that elevate the red cranberry and strawberry fruit flavours and highlight the wines impressive palate concentration and depth. This seductive Savage Red is going to be a hard one to keep away from your corkscrew! Drink now to 2030+. – Greg Sherwood MW, 94/100
Savage, White 2016 – R 235
After producing one of the most memorable Savage White blends in the 2015 vintage, the 2016 offering was always going to come under ever closer scrutiny. From the second of the drought vintages, this white from Duncan Savage is a blend of 54% Sauvignon Blanc, 29% Semillon and 17% Chenin Blanc with a 14% Abv. There is an intense, piercing concentration to the palate, with powerful glycerol notes of white citrus, yellow grapefruit, crunchy white peaches, and tangerine peel, underpinned by an herby, dusty, wet chalk minerality. Rich, unctuous and roundly textured, this wine coats every corner of the drinker’s palate and asserts its exceptional quality, complexity and winemaking pedigree. Drink now to 2027+. – Greg Sherwood MW, 95/100
Savage, Follow the Line 2016 – R 245
For the previous two vintages of this wine, one could wonder whether perhaps it’s exceptional quality and intensity was perhaps the result of a lucky synergistic blend or the product of a very complex, generous vintage. But this 2016 is probably the vintage that looks set to impress the critics yet again and seduce the consumer even more so than the crunchy 2015 vintage. A blend of 44% Cinsaut, 37% Grenache and 19% Syrah at 13% Abv, this wine sings a lofty melodic chorus the moment the cork is pulled. The palate is so seamless, harmonious and elegant with sweet boiled raspberry bon bons, red current herbal tea infusions, ripe cranberries, and a crunchy, vibrant, strawberry fruited finale. Such sweet, silky, fleshy tannins linger on a creamy, opulent, energetic finish. Drink now to 2030+. – Greg Sherwood MW, 95+/100
Savage, Are We There Yet 2016 – R 245
A new wine in the Savage range, anyone who knows Duncan well will know that Touriga Nacional is a grape that has impressed him more and more over the years. Starting with small amounts blended into his Savage Red, this new expression is a bold blend of 85% Touriga Nacional, 8% Cinsaut and 7% Grenache at 14.5 Abv. Full and fleshy, the Touriga Nacional from Malgas is supple, opulent and sweetly fruited. The Cinsaut lends both an exotic, marzipan and violet fragrant lift, but more importantly adds freshness and extra acidity cut. An intriguing wine from a very warm, dry vintage, this wine could become the natural counter-foil to the Savage Follow the Line and its crunchy, nervy energy. Drink now to 2026.’ – Greg Sherwood MW, 92+/100