Carla is better known for her various exquisite sparkling wine expressions (locally known as Méthod cap Classiques when they are produced in the same method used in Champagne) which, for the record, I am also a big fan of. All the same, the resulting inspiration from a trip to France, in particular the Loire Valley, has her giving a crack at Chenin Blanc with some rather outstanding results!
She does not own her own vineyards, and rather seeks out stellar grape growers from across the Cape to source the perfect ingredients for her seductive wines; made at a borrowed cellar. You should hear her speak of these particular vineyards up in the Paardeberg! She painted a mosaic of isolated undulating hills bursting with lush biodynamically grown bush vines that are intermingled with all sorts of Flora and Fauna. Above, the unrelenting African sun bakes the elderly vines that are themselves nurtured by, I can only imagine, millennia old soils. These soils laden with unimaginable secrets long since passed and others still yet to come, sparingly release them into the comically scanty bunches; which only through the metamorphosis into wine do we get a slight whiff of a chance to experience their enlightenment.
The adjacent properties lay either as barren lands or functionally nuked vineyards that after a long day’s picking provides a contrasting juxtaposing showpiece; captivating your attention and drawing you into thought as your sweat drenched necks are kissed by a whispering wind that feeds an inexplicable sensation of satisfaction and poetry…
In 2011 said vines produced only 3 tons of grapes per hectare (where for general commercial viability you need about 8 to 10 tons per hectare). The wine that resulted from this had an exciting nose, filled with stone fruits and was slightly oxidative. The palate showed juicy peaches lined with a creamy edge and oily texture. It finished off with a lime and mineral core.
Her 2012 vintage was fermented and matured in old French oak barrels. 50% of the grape juice underwent natural fermentation. I picked up a ground nut character that was mixed with creamy lemon. Following this, succulent apricot, lemon and lime with refreshing yet integrated acidity showed through. Further still the nuts declared themselves to be almonds and the citrus fruit turned towards fragrant grape fruit on the finish. There was a greater purity of fruit in this vintage; however I preferred the latter due to that extra bit of bottle age.