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Thorne & Daughters ‘Paper Kite’ Old Vine Semillon 2021


WO Swartland
John Seccombe: One of the key heritage varietals in South Africa is Semillon, a grape variety that the modern wine industry was practically built on, but which now finds itself as a small presence in the viticultural landscape here. There are still a number of incredible, old Semillon vineyards in existence and we have been fortunate enough to work with some of them.
Paper Kite is our expression of old vine South African Semillon, and it is sourced from a 58 year-old vineyard in Swartland. These old clones of Semillon (including a tiny amount of Semillon gris dotted about the vineyards) deliver an expression of Semillon that is very much at odds with the modern, aromatic clones. The wines they produce are hauntingly beautiful and difficult to define.
The grapes were pressed gently in an old basket press and fermented with wild yeasts in old oak barrels.The wine shows savoury aromas of ginger, soft yellow fruit and wood spice. The palate is full and rounded with almond flesh and yellow melon notes and a finish of cape gooseberry.
Christian Eedes: From a 1963 Swartland vineyard. A change in winemaking saw the wine spend three months in new 500-litre barrels from Austrian cooperage Stockinger done to offset the variety’s natural propensity to become reductive – it has certainly added the wine a little more polish. The nose shows peach, naartjie, hay and a hint of waxiness while the palate is relatively rich and thick textured with nicely integrated acidity, the finish long and intensely savoury. 93/100.

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John has drawn on the great history of wine growing here in the Cape, putting together old vineyard parcels with new grape cultivars, and making wines with old-school simplicity and a modern ‘edge’. His approach to wine making is simple, honest and gentle, and he is looking to make wines that tell a story, not wines that shout and bang a drum. The “Wanderer’s Heart” Cape Red Blend was added to the range from the 2016 vintage.







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