‘From a Skurfberg Sauvignon Blanc vineyard… an extravagant rendition of the variety.’ – Christian Eedes
Besides their stellar Rocking Horse, the new Thorne & Daughters Snakes & Ladders Sauvignon Blanc is the 2019 release that impressed us the most. With a shy nose and creamy, textured palate, it is unlike any other Sauvignon Blanc produced in SA and more akin to the famed Monts Damnés Sancerre.
The fruit is from a special terroir, high up on the Citrusdal Mountain, that is home to the likes of Alheit’s Makstok and Huilkrans, Botanica’s Mary Delany and the Sadie Family’s Skurfberg. The 2019 Snakes & Ladders is from a 37-year-old Sauvignon Blanc block, adjacent to Chris Alheit’s Makstok vines, planted on similar soils of red sand over clay. With this small-batch, limited release, John Seccombe has vinified one of the most exciting takes on SA Sauvignon Blanc that we’ve ever tasted.
‘My natural inclination was to have little interest in working with Sauvignon blanc, but seeing the vineyard and the soils, I felt compelled to work with it.’ – John Seccombe
Christian Eedes was extremely excited about the 2019 Rocking Horse which is now firmly established as one of the finest Cape white blends. The 2019 vintage is more precise and detailed, which comes through on all these new releases.
The Wanderer’s Heart is a more serious wine in 2019 and calls for a bit of time in the cellar. More structured, it is built around Grenache and Mourvèdre as the backbone with some Syrah added to flesh it out. The Tin Soldier Sémillon Gris has a strong following and continues to be one of my favourite orange wines.
Thorne & Daughters, Snakes & Ladders Sauvignon Blanc 2019
From a Skurfberg Sauvignon Blanc vineyard planted in 1997. Intensely aromatic with notes of citrus, blackcurrant, granadilla and pineapple plus some leesy complexity. The palate is super-rich with a slightly oily texture but also has a great line of acidity – an extravagant rendition of the variety. – Christian Eedes, Winemag.co.za, 92/100
Thorne & Daughters, Rocking Horse Cape White 2019
The ‘cornerstone wine’ of the range, this is probably the best vintage to date. The nose is extraordinarily complex nose with notes of green, yellow and white fruit (take your pick) plus florals, spice and some leesy complexity. The palate has lovely fruit definition, racy acidity and great length. Beautifully balanced and offering layers and layers of flavour, this once again delivers a winning combination of moreishness and cerebral satisfaction. – Christian Eedes, Winemag.co.za, 97/100
Thorne & Daughters, Tin Soldier Sémillon 2019
From Semillon Gris. Skin-fermented portion reduced to 40% in an effort to achieve more “vinosity”. A shy nose before a palate that is not overtly fruity but rather about its tangy acidity and grippy texture – subtle flavours of bittersweet orange and dried herbs make this intellectually demanding. – Christian Eedes, Winemag.co.za, 93/100
Thorne & Daughters, Wanderer’s Heart Cape Red Blend 2019
66% Grenache, 21% Mourvèdre and 12% Shiraz – no Cinsault in this vintage and arguably more refined as a result. A pretty nose with top notes of flowers, herbs and spice before wild berry. The palate is light-bodied with lovely fruit purity, fresh acidity and powdery tannins. Accessible without being simple, this has lip-smacking refreshment value. – Christian Eedes, Winemag.co.za, 92/100