The latest Savage Red 2017 is particularly fine. For the first time, it is 100% Syrah and immediately joins the top echelon of Syrah in SA. It has Rhône-like styling and is produced exclusively from…

The latest Savage Red 2017 is particularly fine. For the first time, it is 100% Syrah and immediately joins the top echelon of Syrah in SA. It has Rhône-like styling and is produced exclusively from two granitic vineyards – one in Stellenbosch and one in the Swartland. From the exceptional 2017 vintage, this release is self-assured and a great expression of Duncan’s vision.

The 2018 Savage range of wines are all distinct and elegant, with a sense of detail and structure that offer both drinking pleasure now and a seriousness for longer ageing. The whites share a saline, fresh acidity, while the reds all have a weightless intensity with super-fine, unobtrusive tannins.

Like the 2017 Red, the 2018 Savage White is a confident release and well-established as one of SA’s finest whites. It is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Chenin Blanc. Considering other local flagship releases, these offer incredible value!

As for Duncan himself, he is of the firm opinion that the Savage Red 2017 and Savage White 2018 are probably two of the best wines he has ever produced and more specifically, were made in a style that he is striving to perfect.‘ – Greg Sherwood MW

Duncan’s aesthetic is evident in these new releases and, like before, the wines are earmarked by precision, elegance and finesse. The 2018 Savage Follow the Line is ‘immensely elegant and charming‘ says Christian Eedes, while the 2018 Savage Thief in the Night has a ‘weightless intensity and concentration‘ according to Greg Sherwood MW.

The rest of Savage’s 2018 releases – Girl Next Door, Not Tonight Josephine, Are we there yet?, and Never Been Asked to Dance – are super-limited and only available on allocation. Please email should you be interested in any of these.

Tasting notes:

Savage, Red 2017
After a bit of vintage shuffling, last years 2015 blockbuster was the last Savage Red blend to be bottled, reverting in 2017 to a pure 100% Syrah wine made from vines grown exclusively on granitic soils in both Stellenbosch and the Swartland. Farmed biodynamically, the Stellenbosch vineyard fruit makes up the lion’s share of this wine and indeed will comprise 100% of the Savage Red in 2018. The grapes spend two weeks on their skins with 50% whole-bunches used before spending 13 months in 500 litre barrels and a further 9 months in 3,200 litre conical foudre, or just under two years elevage in the cellar. A super smart and super concentrated expression, this later release allows one to revisit the fabulously complex aromatics and balance of the exceptional 2017 vintage. Loaded with piquant blueberries, saline cassis and blackberry opulence, the nose shows strikingly complex notes of pink musk, sweet grilled herbs, black peppercorn spice and is embellished with an intoxicating exotic sweet white lily blossom fragrance. The palate intensity is also tremendously impressive with a harmonious crystalline purity and classical elegance in abundance. Showing a slightly more overt, opulent personality to the broody foursquare 2015, this wine represents an evolution and growing maturity in the red winemaking of Duncan Savage. One of his best efforts to date no doubt. Alc.: 13,5%. – Greg Sherwood MW, 96+/100

Savage, White 2018
54% Sauvignon Blanc, 28% Semillon and 18% Chenin Blanc sourced variously from Kaaimansgat, Villiersdorp and Piekenierskloof. A hint of reduction before subtle notes of sea breeze, fynbos, lime, white peach, tangerine and black currant. The palate has good fruit density and coated acidity before a gently savoury finish. Detailed and precise. – Christian Eedes, 93/100

Savage, Follow the Line 2018
While only in its 5th vintage, if there was a race to create a cult wine in South Africa in the shortest time possible, this wine would stand a very good chance of winning. But with instant fame comes increased pressure and expectation and the 2018 vintage was not one of the easiest in South Africa due to drought conditions. But these 38 year old south-east facing Darling origin bush vines once again showed their true pedigree. Labelled as Cinsault, the 2018 includes 85.4% Cinsault and a slightly elevated 14.6% of Syrah, which were aged five weeks on their skins with the use of 50% of whole-bunches. The wine was aged 10 months in oval foudre (1500-2000 litre capacity). Always sublimely perfumed and fragrant, the nose boasts lifted layers of dried lavender, violets, rose petals, red crystallised cherries and hints of Turkish delight. But it is on the palate that the wine reveals a classy weightless streamlined concentration, fabulously sleek polished mineral tannins and an all round sense of finesse and harmony. A terrifically serious effort from Duncan. Pressure? What pressure! Drink from release but do cellar a few bottles for 5 to 8+ years. Alc.: 13%. – Greg Sherwood MW, 95/100

Savage, Thief in the Night 2018
54% Grenache, 24% Syrah and 22% Cinsault from Piekenierskloof. Again a top note of rose before cherries, plums and black olive. Light bodied yet possessing good fruit expression, the different varieties combining to good effect. Lovely freshness and fine tannins, the finish long and saline. – Christian Eedes, 93/100


Leave a Reply