Duncan Savage’s wines are some of SA’s most sought-after releases and, last year, our offer on his 2016s was a record-breaker. Every year his following grows and, with some of these…

Duncan Savage’s wines are some of SA’s most sought-after releases and, last year, our offer on his 2016s was a record-breaker. Every year his following grows and, with some of these wines reaching cult’ status, we expect our small and limited allocation to be snapped up quickly.

The 2017s are beautiful, poised and already highly-rated. Besides his 2017s, we finally see the 2015 Savage Red. From another great vintage, it is certainly the most serious Savage Red to date with spice and floral notes, layered with plum, liquorice and an earthy salinity. It marks ‘the end of one era and the dawning of a new and exciting chapter in the history of the Savage winery’ says Greg Sherwood so don’t wait too long to get your hands on some.

The 2017 Savage White follows on from the 2016 with a similar balance of power, depth and finesse. It is a perennial favourite of ours. The other white, the 2017 Savage Never Been Asked to Dance, is an old vine Chenin with just a touch of grip and a chalky finish thanks to the perfectly-pitched skin contact. A wonderfully unique wine.

The wine to be drinking though is the 2017 Follow the Line. Floral to start with, its fresh, juicy and saline palate is, as Greg Sherwood puts it, ‘a cause for celebration’. Greg adds, ‘this wine has such a unique cult following that you could hold a launch party every year just for this individual wine!’

The 2017 Savage Thief in the Night, which was a huge hit at Young Guns – At Heart, needs perhaps a bit more time in the bottle. This bright Piekenierskloof Grenache-blend has a fresh and vibrant palate but, taut and backward at the moment, it needs 6 months to open up. Lastly, from 100% Malgas fruit, is a 50/50 blend of Touriga Nacional and Syrah – the 2017 Savage Are We There Yet. Built around firmer and fuller tannins, its textured palate demands some time in the cellar but it is balanced and perfectly crafted.

Note, this is a pre-release offer. The wines will only be shipped from the 1st week of September.

Tasting notes:

Savage, White 2017 – R 265
A masterful blend of 49% Sauvignon Blanc, 33% Semillon and carrying on the theme started in 2015, includes 18% of Chenin Blanc. Handled oxidatively in the cellar, the wine was barrel fermented and aged for 10 months in oak. Classic higher altitude vineyard nuances ensure this wine retains incredible intensity together with a fleshy, creamy lemon pie concentration underpinned by a cool, dusty, stony minerality. Powerful without being brutish, linear and focused without being lean. This is another wonderful flagship white blend from the Savage winery that continues the great run of form for this cuvee. – Greg Sherwood MW, 94/100

Savage, Red 2015 – R 265
A blend of 76 % Syrah, 9% Touriga Nacional, 9% Cinsault and 6% Grenache. Fermented in open top fermenters using 50% whole bunches, the wine was aged for an extended 30 months in old oak and foudre prior to bottling. This dark horse has always been backward and restrained, broody and slightly sulky, but bearing in mind it comes from one of the best red vintages in the Cape in a generation, it can be forgiven for being initially shy and ungiving. With the extra aging, the tannins are starting to become a little more supple and pliable, yet continue to lend great textural gravitas, power and focus to this blend. I’d say it has been worth the wait… but just don’t wait too long to put in your order for this impressive red blend as it signals the end of one era and the dawning of a new and exciting chapter in the history of the Savage winery. – Greg Sherwood MW, 95/100

Savage, Never Been Asked to Dance 2017 – R 275
The Savage portfolio has always mostly been about red and white blends. But when you chat to Duncan Savage and taste with him, you can see how eager he is to produce more single varietal wines that show ‘a real sense of place’ especially after the cult success of the pure Syrah Girl Next Door. This wine is less about obvious overt fruit but is a much more complex and complicated creature. Still fairly tightly coiled and restrained in its youth, this old vine Chenin Blanc slowly reveals notes of crunchy peaches, orange blossom, pineapple pastille candy, old honey, apple puree and a very subtle kiss of vanilla pod spice. Finishing quite linear and precise with a rocky core of minerality, this wine challenges the senses, titillates the taste buds and promises much for those sensible enough to age it for a few more years after release. – Greg Sherwood MW, 93/100

Savage, Follow the Line 2017 – R 265
Every new release of Follow the Line is a cause for celebration. Indeed one could argue that this wine has such a unique cult following that you could hold a launch party every year just for this individual wine! A blend of 93% Cinsault and 7% Syrah. Malolactic fermentation was carried out in 500 litre French oak barrels with a further 9 months of ageing in large 1500 and 2000 litre foudre. Possessing a youthful red plum translucent colour, this wine has all the perfume lift and exuberance you would expect from old vine Cinsault. Once again, this wine is the epitome of elegance, walking quite lightly, shimmering all the way to the finish with illuminated brilliance. This really is an exceptional, mouth-watering delight. – Greg Sherwood MW, 95+/100

Savage, Thief in the Night 2017 – R 275
Another new addition to the Savage range, this red is a blend of 48% Grenache, 46% Cinsault and 6% Syrah. At this youthful stage of evolution, the wine is more marked by the 42 year old vine Grenache fruit than the slightly younger Cinsault. Using 70% whole cluster, fermentation was carried out in a closed tank with aerated pump overs. Malolactic fermentation occurred in old 500 litre French oak barrels before the wine was aged for 9 months in large French oak foudre before being bottled. Such a pretty wine with the sleekest and most polished tannins and a mellow fruit intensity. Despite its eminent drinkability in youth, this is no frivolous ‘vin de soif’ and could just maybe, over time, acquire a similar cult following to that of Duncan’s excellent Cinsault-dominated Follow The Line red from Darling. A very confident debut! – Greg Sherwood MW, 93/100

Savage, Are We There Yet 2017 – R 275
Only the second release of this exciting 13 Abv. Wine of Origin Malgas red, the 2017 expression is a blend of 50% Touriga Nacional and 50% Syrah from young rocky vineyards along the Breede River near Swellendam. Aged in 500 litre French oak barrels for 11 months before bottling, you can already see in the space of only two vintages how Duncan has tweaked both picking times and the winemaking to create a seriously exciting expression. Compared to the maiden 2016, this vintage seems to unfurl a few extra layers of concentration and fruit brightness, turning up the volume but with much tighter orchestration. Drink this beauty on release but do allow the age worthy credentials of the Syrah and Touriga to show their full potential with 6 to 8+ years of ageing. – Greg Sherwood MW, 94/100


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