Rick is the alter ego of Master of Wine Richard Kelley – an intrepid Cape crusader seeking to liberate rare wines from across the Cape. Each ‘episode’ is a once-off and, until now, the Liberator wines have been solely for export.
P.S. I Love You is a crunchy, medium-bodied Petite Sirah from De Morgenzon. Also known as Durif, the variety is a descendant of Shiraz. Mostly planted in the US and Australia, there are just 14 hectares in SA. It is a dark and brooding wine, offering superb freshness, wild herbs and punchy drinkability.
Perfectly Flawed is a more complicated story and the less you know, the better! This textured, enormously complex Chenin Blanc was discovered during the change of winemakers at Fable in Tulbagh. It was fermented and aged in a concrete egg and, by chance or maybe by design, it developed a veil of flor yeast. It has a sense of wildness and a nutty texture but still offers deep minerality and fine poise.
While we liberate parcels from these prestigious addresses, this is an amazing opportunity to help liberate the local farming community. R25 from the sale of each bottle will be donated to spieel.org – an amazing NPO that develops and implements applied arts therapy programmes around the winelands. Having seen the success of their challenging endeavours, Wine Cellar is delighted to find ways to offer them support.
The Liberator, P.S. I Love You 2016 – Episode 18
P.S. I Love You was sourced from some of the 14-hectares of Durif (aka Petite Sirah) planted in the Cape. Given that there is more Petite Sirah found in the States than the rest of the world put together, it seems appropriate that the label was painted by an American artist. Julian Alden Weir was an impressionist artist and a founding member of ‘The Ten’, a loosely allied group of disillusioned artists who banded together in 1898 to exhibit their work. This painting, better known in artistic circles as ‘The Letter’, dates to 1910. Rick loves this wine. – The Liberator
The Liberator, Perfectly Flawed 2015 – Episode 16
Not one, but two versions of this wine exist, although the front labels are perfectly the same. It also marks the long-awaited launch of The Liberator in South Africa. Until now, everything has been exported. It’s only taken Rick eight years to find the right opportunity to make this happen.
It was in May 2017 that our intrepid explorer was presented with an unlabelled bottle of wine on a regular visit to Tulbagh. It had been bottled sometime in early 2016, although only the previous incumbent winemakers of the farm know when. The wine was made and bottled under the radar, for ‘personal consumption’. It transpired that there were 330 bottles in the cellar. A Chenin Blanc fermented and aged in a concrete egg. By chance or maybe by design, the wine had developed a veil of flor yeast. It was distinctive and unique. Rick said: ‘I’ll take it’. Then news came that the wine technically didn’t exist. No paperwork – no Export Certificate. But, being the tenacious wine-buyer that he is, Rick didn’t give up there. He might not be able to launch the wine internationally to an unsuspecting audience, but might this be the wine to embark on a South African crusade with…? It’s legal to sell such a wine in the domestic market, but without mention of cultivar, vintage or region.
It then transpired that there was a second, larger batch still in tank. This wine was ‘on the cards’ and could be bottled and exported. So, this rather explains the story of the dual existence. ‘Perfectly Flawed’ is an oxymoron of a wine. An ostensible self-contradiction. Like the label, it’s a wine that reveals itself to be a complete paradox. Outside of the Jura and the Jerez triangle, there are few wine regions in the world where Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the flor yeast responsible for the biological aging of Sherry and Sherry-like wine exist. The Cape is one of them. Enjoying the same 33 degrees latitude as Jerez, one can understand why the climate might be suited to flor-affected wines. Remember too that South Africa had a one-time colonial link with providing the Empire with ‘sherry’. Now the question Rick wants answered is which came first…? The ostrich or the (concrete) egg…? – The Liberator