South African Pinot Noir is on fire. The latest Pinots to hit our radar are the Catherine Marshall Pinot Noir on Sandstone Soils and the Pinot Noir on Clay Soils. Both are from…

South African Pinot Noir is on fire. The latest Pinots to hit our radar are the Catherine Marshall Pinot Noir on Sandstone Soils and the Pinot Noir on Clay Soils. Both are from the stellar 2017 vintage. They are detailed, show great finesse and exude a refined effortlessness. They are her best yet.

Cathy was one of SA’s original garagiste winemakers with her Barefoot label and her 20 years of dedication and resolute passion for Pinot is evident in her impressive new releases. This experienced and considered touch results in some of the finest Elgin Pinots we have tasted.

The 2017 Sandstone Soils is from 4 sites, all on shale and sandstone soils, and is bright and fresh with tangy cherry notes and a firm structure that needs a year to flesh out. It’s great value! The 2017 Clay Soils is produced from vineyards on clay-rich soils and has more body, deeper aromatics and an underlying earthiness.

The very limited Finite Elements Pinot Noir 2016 is an ambitious two-barrel release and sits at the apex of Catherine Marshall’s aspirations. ‘Sourced from red clay and shale soils, but what a wine this is, combining delicacy with concentration and complexity. Scented, savoury and very long,’ notes Tim Atkin MW who scored it 95 points.

Cathy’s deft approach carries through to a stunning St-Émilion look-alike – the Catherine Marshall Peter’s Vision 2015. Awarded 94 points from Tim Atkin MW, it is one of SA’s finest Merlot-based wines to date. It is serious, yet plush and seductive and has great texture with all the charm expected from a merlot-led wine.

These are all limited parcels and well worth exploring.

Tasting notes:

Catherine Marshall, Finite Elements Pinot Noir 2016 – R 770
‘I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time,’ says Cathy Marshall of the first release of this ambitious, high-end Pinot. She’s only made two barrels, sourced from red clay and shale soils, but what a wine this is, combining delicacy with concentration and complexity. Scented, savoury and very long. 2019-26. – Tim Atkin MW, 95/100

Catherine Marshall Pinot Noir on Sandstone Soils 2017 – R 195 
Notes on the 2016 vintage: Four different growers, all of whose vineyards are on shale and sandstone soils, supply grapes for this scented, savoury Pinot Noir. The acidity is refreshing here, framing the wild strawberry and Turkish Delight flavours. 2018-23. – Tim Atkin MW, 90/100

Catherine Marshall, Pinot Noir on Clay Soils 2017 – R 225 
Notes on the 2016 vintage: Using three Burgundian clones (115, 667 and 777) from Shannon’s clay-rich vineyard, this is a plush, concentrated young Pinot with floral top notes, some tannic grip and mint and red fruit flavours. Nicely done. 2018-23. – Tim Atkin MW, 93/100

Catherine Marshall, Peter’s Vision 2015 – R 400
There was no Cabernet Franc in 2014, but it’s back this year, adding 13.5% to the Merlot-based cuvée. In an exceptional, game-changing year for Cathy Marshall, this is another deliciously well balanced wine with leafy, lead pencil scents, fine oak and polished tannins. 2019-27. – Tim Atkin MW, 94/100

Leave a Reply