Donovan Rall is one of SA’s finest, most exciting winemakers. In 2008, it all started with a bang when his first Rall White was awarded a Platter’s 5-Star. Since then, Donovan’s…

Donovan Rall is one of SA’s finest, most exciting winemakers. In 2008, it all started with a bang when his first Rall White was awarded a Platter’s 5-Star. Since then, Donovan’s wines have continued on an unbelievable upward trajectory.

The Rall White 2017 is, for the first time, sans Chardonnay and I think it is better for it. It is tighter and excites with the trademark purity of the 2017 vintage. It has developed an almost cult-like following and sells out fast. This is a super-refined, elegant Rall White and it is my favourite yet.

The Rall Red 2016 is from a concentrated vintage and is, again, a step up from the previous vintages with more savoury notes that balance the ripe, deep fruit. Medium-bodied in style, I particularly like its added gravitas. His finest Rall White and Rall Red to date.

This year sees the release of possibly the first Cinsaut Blanc in the world, certainly in SA, from a 0,2 ha plot in Wellington. The Rall Cinsaut Blanc 2017 is picked early and raised in neutral amphorae to ensure a true reflection of this maiden Cinsaut Blanc. The lightness belies its grip but it is refreshing and delightful. His Rall Cinsaut 2017 is on par with the best we produce in SA and offers fine-grained tannins and attractive, salty notes, whilst the Rall Grenache Blanc 2017 is something special – a textured white produced from Piekenierskloof fruit with a long saline undertow.

The 2017 is the second release of the Rall AVA Chenin, which is produced from a single vineyard in the Swartland. In a similar vein to the lauded 2016, the 2017 is a touch finer with a graceful balance to the fruit weight. Impressive stuff! A Rall AVA Syrah 2017 is the latest addition to his range. Produced from a vineyard adjacent to the Chenin parcel, it immediately joins the ranks as one of SA’s finest Syrahs. It’s floral with ruby grapefruit notes and deep purity on the palate. Both powerful and supple with an elegant, long and dry finish. It is also Christian Eedes’ highest-scoring red to date.

Unfortunately, these unique wines are in very short supply. Due to these extremely limited quantities we are offering his small-batch releases in a mixed case, view online.

Tasting Notes:

Rall, White 2017
71% Chenin Blanc, 24% Verdelho, 5% Viognier and the first vintage to excludes Chardonnay. Stone fruit and orange with top notes of potpourri and spice. Lovely presence in the mouth – muscular rather than weighty. Concentrated fruit and tangy acidity before a saline finish. Alcohol: 13.5%. – Christian Eedes, 94/100

Rall, Red 2016
70% Syrah, 15% Cinsault, 8% Grenache and 7% Carignan. 100% whole-bunch fermentation. Red and black fruit, fynbos, pepper and spice on the nose. The palate has a real succulence about it – pure and fresh with lovely ripe tannins, the finish long and savoury. Super-sexy stuff. – Christian Eedes, 93/100

Rall, Cinsault Blanc 2017
From a 0.2ha Wellington vineyard planted in 1989 and the only certified vineyard of this mutation in the country. Left on the skins for 72 hours and then matured in amphora for nine months. There’s a slight leesy quality to an otherwise shy nose while the palate is reminiscent of lemon cordial – light and fresh with a pithy finish. Alcohol: 11%. – Christian Eedes, 88/100

Rall, Cinsault 2017
Grapes sourced 50:50 from Darling and Swartland. 100% whole-bunch fermentation. A beautiful nose of red cherry, cranberry, earth and spice while the palate has great fruit integrity fresh acidity and tannins which are supple and fine. An elegant and sophisticated rendition of this variety which can tend to make quite rustic wines. Alcohol: 13%. – Christian Eedes, 94/100

Rall, Grenache Blanc 2017
Grapes from a Piekenierskloof vineyard. An elusive yet enticing nose showing pear, white peach, yellow apple and citrus overlain with floral and herbal notes. In the mouth, the flavours unfurl – great front, side and back palate. Light and graceful, lovely freshness and just a little grip on the finish. – Christian Eedes, 95/100

Rall, AVA Chenin Blanc 2017
Again a certain reductive flintiness to the nose and again a palate that is not without grunt. Aromas and flavours of herbs, pear, lemon, naartjie, peach and spice – so, so complex. Excellent fruit purity, fresh acidity and a pithy finish. Has a wonderful vitality and directness about it. Alcohol: 13%. – Christian Eedes, 95/100

Rall, AVA Syrah 2017
From a vineyard adjacent to that which supplies the grapes for Ava Chenin. An utterly seductive nose displaying top notes of lilies and fynbos before black fruit, pepper and a little earthiness. Hugely intense and yet so vivid on the palate. Great fruit expression, lovely freshness and powdery tannins while the finish is extraordinarily long and dry. Manages to combine both gravitas and sexiness making for a riveting drinking experience – the essence of “Syrah”. Unfortunately only 900 bottles made but wines like this boost the reputation of the entire category. – Christian Eedes, 97/100

 

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