Today I’d like to invite you to partake in my most recent adventure, the one which catapulted me onto the train where I find myself typing this newsletter.
I left the Dolomite mountains (South Tirol – Italy) early this morning and I’m on route to Innsbruck, Austria. How I ended up in Italy is, as always, a multi-layered story which started way back in 2011 when I met a very eccentric farmer.
So, in honour of the story and to give you the opportunity to immerse yourself in this journey, I suggest you taste the 2019, 2020 and 2021 Confessions of a White Glove Chaser side by side. To understand why you’ll have to wait for chapter 2. We’ve therefore put together a mixed case of 6 bottles: 1 sold-out 2019, 4 sold-out 2020’s and 1 pre-release unlabelled 2021. Unfortunately we only have 30 of these cases available.
You’re welcome to mail email@example.com to reserve a case or ask for a list of all the wines selling now and then see below for Chapter 1. By the time you receive your wine, Chapter 2 will be in your inbox.
In the beginning years of Blankbottle (roughly the first 15), people assumed we had a winemaking philosophy. The philosophy to make use of older oak in order to produce elegant, fruit-driven wines – wines which show the character of the vineyards in Africa rather than the oak trees of France. They were right, when it came to wines like Familiemoord and My Koffer, but it was never a blanket approach, methodology or stylistic conviction. It was a budget thing. As in, there was none. So however much I loved the freshness and vibrancy PROPER oak brings to Bordeaux varietals, it was just not an option for me at the time.
Then in 2011 I started buying grapes from this farmer guy. Besides being a viticulturist and winemaker, he is also a carpenter by trade, making him very probably the most well-rounded wine person I know. As a day job, he’s involved with the family’s commercial farm, but as a sideline he cares for a couple of special vines which he makes wine of. Every action when it comes to these vines he physically does by hand. Then, after harvest, he packs his bags for Europe to work in wine shops and wineries and to travel.
In 2017 he set off once again, but this time round to go and make his own wine barrels. Whhhaaatttt??? was my first reaction, but low and behold, just before pruning time he was back in South Africa. Mission completed. And by the time the new vintage was ready to be put to barrel, his own 2 handcrafted 500L wine barrels arrived – made from a combination of German and French oak.
From time to time I visited him on the farm – each time tasting his wine and each and every time driving away completely baffled. The way the wood integrated in his wines just didn’t make sense to me. New wood can be harsh and overpowering, but in this instance the wine kind of absorbed the wood to become so integrated it felt like the wine had a new foundation, a foundation and platform to showcase fruit. The wines became fresher with this underlying spicy tannin coming from the wood in a way I had never experienced before. It fascinated me.
So when he mentioned that he considered bringing in some of the barrels of his connection cooper friend in the Dolomite mountains of Italy, my hand was up!
I have to stop writing now, I am one stop away from my destination.
Until next week for Chapter 2.
Hope you have an exciting day!