I like to refer to what we do as journeys within each wine. Our destination we sort of figure out as we go along. This is the VERY CONDENSED life cycle of The Spaniard:
My introduction to Mourvedre, Carignan, Cinsaut and Grenache was in 2007. With most of these cultivars hailing from ancient Spain, I decided to dub the wine – The Spaniard 2007. The wine was an unexpected hit.
In order to experience what each of the individual components of The Spaniard could do on its own, I then bottled The Educational range 1 – 4 the following year; Again a hit!
This led to my second attempt at The Spaniard – with the end result a bit off the mark and released as the BIG Spaniard 2009. The wine was indeed big: larger in frame, alcohol and extraction.
My 3rd attempt (the 2011 vintage) was again a bit off the mark, but this time round more to the elegant side of things – it was released as The Little Spaniard 2011. And then came the knock on my little Hinterhofkabuff’s office door – my cashflow survival knight-in-shining-armour. Woolworths decided that they wanted to take The Little Spaniard on as a once-off special exclusive. Grateful for the relief, I decided that the wine will leave the BLANKBOTTLE stable to stand on its own 4 legs. I even had a label designed by the best design firm in Stellenbosch. A never-to-be-repeated act on my behalf.
2 years after my WW stint, under the BLANKBOTTLE umbrella, I still wanted to try the original style of the Mourvedre, Grenache and Carignan version – an Original Spaniard, so to speak. So I was back at it with the release of The Original Spaniard 2013 – an all-out SWARTLAND combination. And just as I thought I was back in the game, a larger producer muscled me out of the vineyards. Not knowing where to turn to next, I basically just left it there until further notice.
Fast-track 7 years to 2020 and my day finally came – in the form of a beautiful little bush vine Swartland vineyard – planted in pure rugged Schist on the Riebeeck mountain. Unfortunately I was only allowed to buy 1 ton, so I made 3 barrels. The Spaniard 2020 – the pure-elegance, soft-juicy-roundness is mouth-watering … with 30% of the wine aged in new oak – 100% Mourvedre.
And this, my friends, is the closest version to the waaaay back The Spaniard 2007, which I’ve been aiming to repeat ever since.