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CellarFoot The Straw 2010

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Sunbaked.
Sunbaked.

Nothing that Lammershoek winemaker Craig Hawkins does is remotely mainstream but CellarFoot is the label he uses to designate the wines which he feels really push the boundaries.

The three stand-out wines for me are the following:

CellarFoot Härslevelü 2013
Approximate retail price: R247
A subtle floral note on the nose. Nothing overt on the palate but I found nuances of lime, green apple and white peach plus some spice. Great fruit concentration (despite an abv of just 12%) and coated acidity before a savoury finish.

Score: 91/100.

CellarFoot The Mourvèdre 2012
Approximate retail price: R247
100% whole bunch fermented. Purple flowers, dark fruit, olive brine and a certain wildness. Surprisingly rich but there’s also lovely bright acidity and properly ripe tannins. Idiosyncratic but compelling.

Score: 91/100.

CellarFoot The Straw 2010
Approximate retail price per 375ml bottle: R189
From three Chenin Blanc vineyards between 40 and 55 years old. 2010 considered a good vintage – the heat waves that normally hit the Swartland arriving late and the grapes able to ripen fully without losing their natural acidity. Left to macerate for five days before being pressed over seven days, each day some juice taken off and fermented separately. Matured for 24 months in old barrels.

A quite extraordinary wine. Great complexity with notes of sultana, peach, apricot, honey, caramel and dried flowers and that saline quality on the finish that so many Lammershoek wines show. Sleek in texture but also incredibly fresh – lovely structure in terms of the balance between sugar and acidity. Nothing sickly about it as straw wines can sometimes be. On the contrary, clean and complete.

Score: 95/100.

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