Donovan Rall is producing some of SA’s most sought-after wines. Besides the stellar AVA single-vineyard wines, the continuous improvement of his signature Rall White and Rall Red is what impresses us. The 2017 Rall Red and 2018 Rall White are his most accomplished blends to date and are must-haves for any Rall fans.
From the 2017 vintage, the Rall Red is significantly more structured and serious than previous releases with drier and firmer, yet perfectly ripe tannins that will need at least 3 years in bottle before broaching. It is a step up in terms of seriousness and, in stature, it’s now on par with the famed Rall White – one of SA’s most successful white blends. The 2018 Rall White is a fine example of winemaker’s craft. The key to this amazing wine is Donovan’s access to various vineyard parcels in multiple regions which mitigated the impact of the drought. An impressive effort!
Of his other new releases, the 2018 Grenache Blanc is especially remarkable. If you like the previous vintages, it tracks on perfectly. The delicate and citrusy palate is finely detailed with a mineral and savoury undertow. The 2018 Cinsault is a fine example of SA Cinsault and is easily up there with the best. Lastly, the 2018 Rall Cinsault Blanc is light and fresh. A minuscule amount was made, so it’s a curiosity worth trying.
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Rall, Red 2017
75% Syrah, 15% Carignan and the rest Cinsault and Grenache. Bottled earlier than previous vintages to preserve fruit. Some reduction and quite earthy character before red and black fruit, herbs, pepper and spice. Full bodied with fresh acidity and firm tannins, this has a slightly rustic quality about it although it certainly isn’t short of flavour. Sweet upfront but very dry on the finish. – Christian Eedes, 92/100
Rall, White 2018
70% Chenin Blanc, 26% Verdelho and 4% Viognier. Matured in old oak barrels of various sizes for 11 months. Some struck match character before pear, peach, citrus and apple plus some leesy character. Rich and very flavourful on the palate with just the right amount of texture, a great line of acidity lending drive. Alcohol: 13%. – Christian Eedes, 96/100
Rall, Grenache Blanc 2018
From Piekenierskloof vineyard, harvest involved two picks, one at 19˚ Balling and another at around 22˚ Balling. Vinified mostly in concrete egg, the balance in amphorae. A pretty nose of lemon, naartjie and fresh herbs. The palate is very refined, almost dainty – alcohol a mere 12%. Excellent fruit definition and punchy acidity before a savoury finish. Alcohol: 12%. – Christian Eedes, 95/100
Rall, Cinsault 2018
60% of grapes from the Swartland and 40% from Darling, vinification largely taking place in stainless steel tank. A gorgeous nose of rose geranium and fresh herbs plus cherry and wild strawberry. Light bodied yet possessing good fruit definition, this is clean, fresh and rather lovely all round. Alcohol: 12%. – Christian Eedes, 92/100
Rall, Cinsault Blanc 2018
From Wellington grapes. Picked a little riper and left longer on the skins (eight days) than the maiden 2017 in order to achieve more substance. A hint of reduction plus peach and yellow apple on the nose. The palate has a creamy texture, moderate acidity and a gently savoury finish. More than a curiosity, this has a modest charm about it. Alcohol: 11.5%. – Christian Eedes, 89/100