The Rocking Horse Cape White from Thorne & Daughters is now firmly established as one of the finest Cape white blends. Along with its sibling, the Wanderer’s Heart Cape Red, the newly-released 2020s are more precise and wonderfully balanced. There is an all-round sense of calm accomplishment to this set of releases.
Both the Rocking Horse and Wanderer’s Heart offer immense value, especially when considering the price of other signature blends. These finely-crafted cuvées highlight John Seccombe’s astute fine wine vision and at a fair price point to boot!
Working with various heritage vineyards, the Rocking Horse is a multi-vineyard, multi-variety blend that takes its aesthetic from white Burgundy rather than the Rhône; as John prefers refinement over weight. The 2020 is stunning with poised aromas and a deliciously dry, savoury palate.
The 2020 Wanderer’s Heart calls for a bit of time in the cellar; like the 2019. More structured, it is built around Grenache and Mourvèdre with some Syrah added to flesh it out. There’s no loss of freshness and it offers both drinkability and complexity with fine, detailed tannins. It’s a delicious and refined red.
The 2020 Tin Soldier Sémillon (Gris) has a strong following and continues to be one of my favourite orange wines. This skin-contact, unfiltered, unfined, raised-in-old-oak gem is so complex that almost every sip changes in the glass. It is fascinating and intriguing in the best possible way. Get some!
For followers of the Paper Kite Old Vine Sémillon, the 2020 will need some time for its texture and palate weight to meld. However, this small-batch cuvée is one of the most unique interpretations of Sémillon.
‘From a Skurfberg Sauvignon Blanc vineyard,’ writes Christian Eedes, the Snakes & Ladders Sauvignon Blanc is ‘an extravagant rendition of the variety.’ The 2020 release has a shy nose and creamy, textured palate. It is one of the most exciting takes on local Sauvignon Blanc and continues to impress us – there is nothing else like it. 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.
Thorne & Daughters, Rocking Horse Cape White Blend 2020
‘This is our signature wine and it is where all our work comes together to make our most complete wine. The wine is composed from a number of carefully selected vineyard sites in the Western Cape. Notes of hay, wild honey and nut brittle aromas on the nose lead into a rounded, intense palate of honeybush, yellow plums and a subtle gun flint smokiness with a long full bodied finish.’ – John Seccombe, Winemaker
Thorne & Daughters, Wanderer’s Heart Cape Red Blend 2020
‘The 2020 Wanderer’s Heart is our Cape Red – a wine that is built around the incredible vineyards found all over the Western Cape. The wine is focused, with red cherries, violets and cinnamon on the nose. The tannins are supple and integrated into a palate of red currants and black cardamom.’ – John Seccombe, Winemaker
Thorne & Daughters, Tin Soldier Sémillon 2020
‘The colour of the wine is unusual, having taken some bright copper tones from about a week’s fermentation on skins. The nose is expressive with spice, sweet papaya, ginger, citrus peel and marzipan notes. Over the past couple of years, we have dialled the ripeness up a notch, making for a more complete and ‘grown-up’ wine, which we feel is in a very good space with the 2020 edition. The interplay between savoury and sweet is a key point of interest in Tin Soldier, and makes for a subtle and engaging wine. The wine shows aromas of orange blossom, tomato leaf and ginger biscuits. The palate is rich, textured and long with notes of lime peel and toffee apple.’ – John Seccombe, Winemaker
Thorne & Daughters, Paper Kite Old Vine Sémillon 2020
‘Paper Kite is our expression of old vine South African Semillon, and it is sourced from a 57 year-old vineyard in Swartland. These old clones of Semillon (including a tiny amount of Semillon gris dotted about the vineyards) deliver an expression of Semillon that is very much at odds with the modern, aromatic clones. The wines they produce are hauntingly beautiful and difficult to define. The wine shows savoury aromas of chestnuts, nougat and nutmeg with the subtle, fresh pepperiness of wild rocket. The palate is full and rounded with marzipan and yellow melon notes balanced by a citrus spine that adds structure.’ – John Seccombe, Winemaker
Thorne & Daughters, Snakes & Ladders Sauvignon Blanc 2020
‘The wine that comes from these pristine grapes is deeply complex and we vinify it as simply as we can from whole bunch pressing the grapes to months of cool maturation in old oak barrels. Blackcurrant leaf, ruby grapefruit and Chinese guavas form an intensely complex nose. The palate is rich and structured with lemongrass, gooseberry and sumac cut by saline acidity.’ – John Seccombe, Winemaker