The year is going so fast now and we still have plenty of wines to release. So today is the release of 2 opposites: The super stylish mineral-fresh-lean DOK 2014 – A ELGIN white blend of Riesling, Sauvignon blanc and Sémillon and the full throttle big yet elegant and fresh – one of my personal favourites, EPILEPTIC INSPIRATION 2014 – a straight Sémillon also from the same farm in ELGIN.
In the recent South African wine report by British Master of Wine Tim Atkin, DOK 2013 received 91 points out of 100 and he this week mentioned the 2014 vintage as one of his standouts at the recent London New Wave South African Wine Tasting (which we had 2 weeks ago in the UK). The same Tim Atkin also gave Epileptic Inspiration 2014 a super score of 94 points out of 100 in the same report. The sad thing however is that the farm where I buy the grapes from for these two wines, was recently sold and the new owners had other plans with the vineyards. I therefore did not get any grapes in 2015. I will of course try my best to get it again in the future but up to now could not secure an allocation for the 2016 harvest. So both these wines might never be repeated. Ironically, curveballs like these excite me. Still – get your hands on some now, while I still have them.
See below for the stories on both these new wines:
This is the 3rd vintage of DOK, and I am so sorry to say, also the last. This white blend made of mainly Weisser Riesling, Semillon and Sauvignon blanc is made of ELGIN grapes that grows on Dr. Gary’s farm (the guy who looks after the health of my family); hence the name. He sold the farm last year. And the new owners has different plans for the vineyards. So, if you liked this wine, buy it now. The wine is super fresh, textured, vibrant and energetic. All components made separately in older French oak barrels, fermented there and aged for a year on the lees. Blended and bottled.
Epileptic Inspiration 2014
ELGIN Semillon 2014 – These grapes were picked yellow ripe. The juice got no sulphur before fermentation, no acid, enzymes etc. It settled overnight and went to old wooden French oak barrels. Spontaneous fermentation followed and the wine stayed in barrel on the lees for a year and was then bottled. The Tim Atkin SA Wine report 2015 awarded this wine 94 points out of 100.
And the name?
“Epileptic Inspiration? You have no respect!”, a Swiss guy told me on a recent trip to Zurich.
Since the beginning of BLANKbottle, I have been designing my own labels. At first, it was because there was absolutely no way I could afford designers. I made use of Microsoft Word, typed BLANKbottle, placed it into a block and played around with the colours – no designing skills required at all. Over the years, however, I started embracing the opportunity of being able to create this crucial aspect of the final product. And, to be honest, for the first 10 years I actually wasn’t particularly fond of my own labels (besides maybe the honesty of it). Every year, I would again have to fight off the desire to employ professional label designers.
For those of you who don’t know this: I have epilepsy which only manifested itself in my 30’s. It’s controlled by medication, but I absolutely hate taking pills. So I was very relieved when the Dr said I could go off my medication a year or so after my first and only seizure. Then, in November 2013, whilst not on medication, I had another huge epileptic fit. So the Dr booked me off driving and surfing, yet again. Now after a seizure like this, I normally, at first, lose most of my memory. My long term memory returns quite soon but my short-term analytical memory takes about 2-3 months to return – if at all. But I discovered a huge upside to this: financial pressures and other stress factors disappears together with the rest of my short term memory! To put it simply: when I couldn’t remember what I had to stress about, it blew my creative side right open. (don’t ask me if this makes any medical sense…it has just been my experience!)
And it was during that time of short-term memory loss that I started to design my new labels for the 2013 wines. This time not using the computer, but rather making use of scissors, paint, Lino, pencil and old paper. And the result: I think I had a breakthrough in design, inspiration of Epileptic proportions. I have also since discovered how much I enjoy drawing and painting, something I never knew I liked! I am not saying it is great nor am I saying that it is better than my previous ones. All I am saying is that I LOVE IT! All of them… I think I have 27 labels (wines) for 2015.
So the story has nothing to do with the wine – a straight Semillon from Elgin. I am not a fan of greener Semillon and therefore concentrate on picking the grapes when it was ripe. The juice got no sulphur before fermentation, no acid, enzymes etc. It settled overnight and went to old wood, spontaneously fermented and stayed a year in barrel on the lees and was then bottled.