Expertly made wines, filled with poise and elegance, and much tamer than the name suggests. Amongst my favourite releases in the South African wine calendar, Savage Wines offers consistency and sheer enjoyability at a wonderfully accessible price tag.
Presenting his wines in a typically charismatic and informal manner, Duncan showcases the new vintages of Savage Wines in his urban and unpretentious winery in Salt River.
“2021s a vintage which suits our style”says Duncan
Savage White 2021
76% Sauvignon Blanc / 24% Semillon. 13,5% alc
Funnily enough since Duncan has dropped the Chenin Blanc, the wine appeals to me more. Steely and lean it is more focused than previous vintages. Reductive winemaking highlights a characteristic dance of saltiness. This wine is the only one which sees new oak in the cellar, (20% / 10 months), the oak is subtle and draws you deeper into dried fruit notes of apricot and pear before citrus pith on the finish. An incredibly alluring wine, with spellbinding acidity.
Never Been Asked To Dance 2021
Chenin Blanc. 13.5% alc. Paarl
A labour of love – with nurture and TLC this 66 year old Chenin Blanc vineyard is really starting to perform, and shows huge potential. In Duncan’s words; “It’s solid at the moment but its going to become epic, when you stand in the vineyard you just know its going to be good”. A wine of generous textural weight with the exuberant concentration typical of old vine Chenin Blanc. Yellow apple, chamomile and white peach interplay with an appeasing acidity.
Follow The Line 2021
Cinsault. 13.1% alc. Darling
The 7th release of this wine is now predomaintely Cinsualt with only a dash of Syrah. The Follow The Line is a brand within itself, and has a cult following of its own. It all started when Duncan became terribly lost while going for the first time to have a look at some Cinsault vineyards he was interested in. So he called the farmer for directions who just told him to “volg net die f*kken foon lyn”! He did just that and followed the line all the way to the farm! Despite the blend changing over the years, it always remains Cinsault driven, and in some such way gives an eminently consistent impression. Enchanting aromas distinctive of Darling cinsault; rose water, dried and herbaceous red fruit. It is a deeply elegant wine with a refined fruit forward and dense core. Freeze dried strawberries, black cherry, intermittent citrus zest followed by glimmers of rose water and a pink spice on the finish. More restraint and tannin structure than the 2020.
Thief in The Night 2021
Grenache. 13.6% alcohol. Piekenierskloof.
Savage shares this expressive Grenache vineyard with Eben Sadie. The wine perfectly translates the terroir of the dry, gnarly and highly elevated vineyard situated in Citrusdal Mountain region. Eloquent fruit purity and earthy undertones. Bramble fruit, pomegranite and redcurants before notes of rooibos and a purple musk. A wine of great clarity, crystaline acidity, crunchy fruit and soft supple tannins. Incredible drinkability and will most definitely incur insatiable sipping pleasure.
Girl Next Door 2021
Syrah. 13.4%. Cape Town
Duncan acknowledges the 2021 as one of the of the prettiest Girl Next Doors he has made, the vinatage’s climatic conditions were favourable for this vineyard in Noordhoek. Electrically fresh and a beautiful attention to detail. The vineyard’s proximity to the ocean brings a freshness to the site and delivers a perfect pH. Notes of black plum, black cherries, violets and delicately spiced nutmeg. It is juicy without being jammy. Silky tannins. Refined elegance.
Are We There Yet 2021
50% Touriga Nacional, 50% Syrah, 13% alc. Malgas.
Sourced from unique vineyards seemingly in the middle of nowhere; (Are we there yet? asks the kids) near the Breede River in the Malgas region. Definitely the boldest of the line up, this is a broody wine with profound depth of flavour. A slight reductive nose embroidered with wet slate, smoked charcuterie meat and dark plums. An intense palate ensues with almost ostentatious dark fruit, a meaty spice and firm tannins.
Savage Red 2020
Syrah. 13.7% alc. Stellenbosch.
When Duncan began he set out to make two wines, The Savage Red and it’s pigeon pair white, were the initial releases. Often distracted by its peers, this is a wine I’ve overlooked in previous vinatges. The 2020 however shines bright amoungst its stable mates. It has the characteristic of that reliable, trustworthy friend, who is always there for you. It benefits from an extra year in the cellar and is therfore the only 2020 in this release. A great concentration of red and black fruit, slight broodiness but with a wonderful mineral freshness which cools and lifts the palate.
Not Tonight Josephine 2021
Chenin Blanc. 7.5% alc. Piekenierskloof.
Presenting this wine, Duncan reminisced about growing up in ’The Golden Valley’ surrounded by the yellow orchids of Piekenierskloof, a memory echoed in Not Tonight Josephine. With such a low alcohol, this straw wine barely scrapes through as a classified wine. Embellished with a vibrant acidity and 400g/l sugar, the wine balances in a luxurious manner. Conjures up episodic memories of warm homemade brown bread, lathered in freshly churned farm butter, drizled with sweet fynbos honey accompamied by a cup of sweet rooibos tea.
Duncan’s wines all follow a line (excuse the obvious refernece here;). A uniformed purity of fruit, elevated aromatcs and an incredible elegance. They dance an equilibrium of power and finese. Savage wines are also extremely hot property and sell out quickly. They are released on the 30th September 2022, hunt them down and enjoy now or if your patience allows for up to 10 -1 5 years.