Holy wow we’re excited by our largest stash of South African wines. In a neat parallel to Australia’s fledgling natural wine scene, the winds of change were blowing about in South Africa some decade-or-so ago. With the first gusts coming via the incredible energy of The Swartland Revolution, an event launched in 2010 that spawned a growing collective of natural winemakers who took to the vines of Swartland and focused on smaller batch, minimal intervention wines. The main players focused on a re-imagining of lo-fi and high quality South African wines and include the likes of Adi Badenhorst, Andrea and Chris Mullineux, Eben Sadie and Callie Louw.
Then, a lightning bolt. During the lock downs in South Africa the government put in place a country-wide prohibition that stopped all sales of alcohol and quickly brought a multitude of South Africa’s wine producers to despair. We figured we’d do our bit from our corner of the world and buy some - a neat and tidy mix of younger generation and seasoned campaigners.
Adi Badenhorst’s AA Badenhorst Secateurs hail from older vines in Swartland and are juicy, bright, fresh. The white is full of lemony tang and sea spray saltiness, the red a crisp, lighter style all cherry juice dusted with spice.
Alheit Vineyard is a newer producer for us. Chris and Suzaan Alheit farm older vines and “aim to make wines that have a fine form and are not bulky. Nobody likes to fight their way through a massively rich, boozy, flabby, beast of a wine. We hope to make wines that have ample power, but no excess weight - something akin to a gymnast, rather than a sumo wrestler”. Their cinsault is a refreshing, crunchy-textured red we love drinking cold from tumblers.
The Blacksmith is a wine project helmed by Tremayne Smith, a chef turned winemaker who learned his wine craft across a number of high profile producers before focussing on his own, pint-sized range. His Bare Bones Colombar is scintillating, tense and thirst-quenching with a little chalky texture in the mix. How good.
Rossouw Gouws & Clarke is a group of four pals spanning grape grower, winemaker and exporter/distributor who decided to make "the most smashable pinotage in the universe". And they did.
Watching the ethos behind Swartland Revolution sweep across a multitude of regions - supporting sustainable farming, additive free winemaking and an interest in producing personality-filled wines - has been just darn exciting and we're not keen for something as draconian as prohibition stop the momentum. Buying these wines means you're putting a little bit into the pockets of those affected. We like that idea.