‘What an accomplishment Rocking Horse 2021 from John Seccombe is,’ says Christian Eedes. It’s ‘one of the most refined and complete offerings from this vintage yet tasted’, he adds, and ‘the rest of the range…

‘What an accomplishment Rocking Horse 2021 from John Seccombe is,’ says Christian Eedes. It’s ‘one of the most refined and complete offerings from this vintage yet tasted’, he adds, and ‘the rest of the range happens to be rather smart, too.’ A stellar Cape white blend, the Rocking Horse leads an impressive set of small-parcel releases from what John describes as an ‘electric vintage’.

Both the Rocking Horse and the Wanderer’s Heart offer immense value, especially considering the price of other signature blends. The former is a multi-variety blend from various heritage vineyards and takes its aesthetic from white Burgundy rather than the Rhône. The 2021 Wanderer’s Heart is a delicious and refined red that’s built around Syrah and Grenache, with dollops of Mourvèdre and Carignan for energy.

The 2021 Tin Soldier Sémillon (Gris) has a strong following and continues to be one of our favourite orange wines. Skin-fermented, unfiltered, unfined and raised in old oak, it’s a real gem and ‘full of captivating detail’, notes Christian, rating it 95.

The small-batch Paper Kite Sémillon is produced from a vineyard planted in 1963. The 2021 vintage sees the addition of some new Stockinger 500-litre barrels, which add extra texture and weight. We love this unique and compelling interpretation of Sémillon.

The Snakes & Ladders 2021 is among our favourite Sauvignon Blancs – it’s a profound rendition of the variety. The 2021 shows immense length and a chalky, savoury character along with ripe blackcurrant, citrus, and layers of flavour. The fruit is from a special terroir, high up on the Citrusdal Mountain, that’s home to the likes of Alheit’s Makstok and Huilkrans, Botanica’s Mary Delany, and the Sadie Family’s Skurfberg.

Due to the drought and such low yields for the previous release, there was too little of the Cat’s Cradle Swartland Chenin last year. Fortunately, 2021 is back on track and it’s possible for us to offer this rare old-vine Chenin again. From two vineyards planted in 1973 and 1979, it’s a beautifully poised, typical Swartland Chenin, with a salty, lingering finish.

Tasting Notes

Thorne & Daughters, Rocking Horse Cape White 2021

‘32% Roussanne, 29% Semillon, 19% Chardonnay, 16% Chenin Blanc and 4% Clairette Blanche sourced from the Cape winelands. Sensational aromatics of green, white and yellow fruit, flowers, herbs and spice plus a touch of flinty reduction – very expressive but not at all vulgar or overwrought. The palate has great fruit definition, a lovely line of acidity and finish that is long and dry. Precisely made, the whole very much more than the sum of the parts.’ – Christian Eedes, 97/100

Thorne & Daughters, Wanderer’s Heart 2021

‘46% Syrah, 32% Grenache, 18% Mourvèdre and 4% Carignan sourced from across the Western Cape. Striking aromatics of red berries, olive, fynbos, pepper and spice while the palate is light-bodied but intensely flavoured – pure fruit, snappy acidity and powdery tannins. Great energy and an especially dry finish.’ – Christian Eedes, 92/100

Thorne & Daughters, Tin Soldier Sémillon 2021

‘From Swartland Semillon Gris, 50% fermented on the skins for one week. Complex aromatics of potpourri, citrus, peach, some nuttiness and spice. The palate shows great fruit depth matched by tangy acidity, the finish gently savoury. A wine full of captivating detail.’ – Christian Eedes, 95/100

Thorne & Daughters, Paper Kite Old Vine Sémillon 2021

‘From a 1963 Swartland vineyard. A change in winemaking saw the wine spend three months in new 500-litre barrels from Austrian cooperage Stockinger done to offset the variety’s natural propensity to become reductive – it has certainly added the wine a little more polish. The nose shows peach, naartjie, hay and a hint of waxiness while the palate is relatively rich and thick textured with nicely integrated acidity, the finish long and intensely savoury.’ – Christian Eedes, 93/100

Thorne & Daughters, Snakes & Ladders 2021

‘From Skurfberg Sauvignon Blanc. Spontaneously fermented and matured for approximately nine months in old oak. Exotic aromatics of elderflower, citrus, peach, granadilla and pineapple plus some leesy complexity. “We try to beat it down but it won’t quit,” says Seccombe. The palate has pure fruit and racy acidity before a dry finish. Good weight as you might expect from a wine with an alcohol of 14.14%.’ – Christian Eedes, 92/100

Thorne & Daughters, Cat’s Cradle Chenin Blanc 2021

‘Grapes from an old Swartland vineyard. The nose shows lime and white peach but also some intriguing oxidative notes including some bruised apple, nuts and spice. The palate has a dense core of fruit and snappy acidity – it comes across as quite tense and reticent now but should drink beautifully in two to five years’ time.’ – Christian Eedes, 94/100

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