“We don’t pump Dombeya as a cellaring proposition but we reckon they have the capacity to age in a positive manner,” says Grant Dodd, partner with American Preston Haskell in the venture that sees both Dombeya and Haskell Vineyards wines made by Rianie Strydom from the same Helderberg cellar.
To prove the point, five vintages of two wines in the Dombeya range, current releases available for under R100 a bottle – the 2006, 2008. 2009, 2012 and 2013 of the Chardonnay and the 2006, 2007, 2008, 2008 and 2012 of the Boulder Road Shiraz.
The line-up of Shiraz was more than respectable but it was the Chardonnay that really shone, in particular the 2006 and the 2013. Interestingly, whereas other vintages feature bought-in fruit, these two were made exclusively from grapes grown on Haskell.
The team, of course, subsequently launched an ultra-premium Chardonnay under the Haskell label which goes by the name of Anvil, but Dodd and Strydom have no problem with the Dombeya 2006 being viewed as an Anvil prototype while the 2013 might also be considered as de-classified Anvil as no Chardonnay will be appearing under this name from this vintage.
Tasting notes and scores for the two wines as follows:
Dombeya Chardonnay 2006
10 months in French oak, 30% new. Contains 13% of the 2007 vintage for freshness. Pear, peach, lemon and subtle yeasty note. Also some attractive developed character in evidence. Good fruit concentration, lovely bright acidity before a savoury finish.
Dombeya Chardonnay 2013
Price: R95 a bottle
10 months in French oak, none new. Contains 10% of the 2014 vintage. Still very primary with notes of citrus blossom, pear and peach. Light bodied and elegant with pure fruit and fresh acidity before a long, dry finish.