The Drift Farm, Gift Horse, Single Vineyard Barbera, Overberg Highlands, South Africa, 2015
Driven by a desire to make individual, superb quality wines with exceptional character The Drift wines are carefully crafted by winemaker Bruce Jack using only grapes grown on the farm.
The Drift specialises in red wine from various varieties and vineyard sites on the farm. The vineyards planted are in small, irregular shaped plots to suit the various contours of the land, and the land is organically farmed. In the winery, these plots are fermented separately then married together to find balance and complexity.
This is a very small vineyard – 0.4 ha. crops are kept very low, only allowing one bunch per shoot. The rest is sacrifised to the soil, the porcupines and mountain buck. The porcupine in particular have a feast. Planted in 2002, like the Mysteries Pinot Noir, the vineyard has settled down into a natural balance between vegetative growth and fruit production which they expect at around 3.5 tons of fruit per hectare. Planted on a mixture of decomposed granite, sandstone and rocky substrate (with calcified limestone) mostly from the weathered mountainside (although there is some very leached white porcelain clay around as well) this vineyard reflects the minerality in the soil. The block slopes gently to the west and looks to the north west, towards Cape Town, where much of the wine is enjoyed.
The block is hand-picked in three or four passes over a week. The grapes are fermented in open top fermentors with 25% whole bunches. the tanks are small vessels and are hand plunged 5 or 6 times a day. Fermented wild, these can take awhile to complete fermentation. We then age the wine in 225 litre barrels, mostly old, for 18 months.
Type: 225 litres - mixture of oak. Mostly old French
% wine oaked: 100
% new oak: 18
The wine is densely purple in colour. It’s a full-on nose, packed with concentrated black types of fruit like mulberry and ridiculously ripe cherry. But it’s the spice and herbaciousness that marks this wine as different. 2015, being a cool year on The Drift, means the fynbos and garden herbs are central, but in the background like good double bass player should be. This allows the wine to show an explosion of dark, black, inky fruit on the palate. The wine is rich, but fresh, with clean, refreshing acidity and soft, luscious tannins. If cellared correctly this vintage will live for twenty years easily, but is drinking very well now because of the softness of the wine crafting.
Needs something rich and savoury... like a good Steak!
Rober Parker 92 Points
The 2015 Gift Horse has a strong peppermint-tinged bouquet with hints of fynbos and a little garrigue, nicely defined and replicating the joie de vivre that I found on the 2013 on my last trip to South Africa. The palate is smooth and silky with well-judged acidity, lovely purity and charm in tact, the finish structured but with such precision that you barely notice. Not quite as good as the 2013 Gift Horse, perhaps, but only half a furlong behind and it may improve with 12 months in bottle. 92 Points, NM, April 2017.
WOSA's Intrepid Tasting 2017
This is smoky and indulgent, you know from first sight that it’s going to be a rich, opulent wine with bags of character… and it doesn’t disappoint. There’s raspberry fruit, some dried herbs and a clean acid backbone that the mellow tannins effortlessly hang off. Too ripe for northern Italy but refined and classy all the same. Certainly the best label of the day, and quite probably the best wine at Intrepid too. Chris Wilson
6 x 75cl
Overberg Highlands, South Africa
Overberg Highlands, South Africa