JJ Handmade is the designation that Stellenrust has traditionally given to its more boutique offerings and the Eight Pillars 2013 is an eight-way blend with Shiraz to the fore (56%) but also including Pinotage, Cinsaut, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Carignan, Grenache and Cabernet Franc – grapes mostly from Stellenbosch but also including portions from Swartland and Piekenierskloof.
On the nose, cranberry, raspberry and blackberry with notes of spice, fynbos and flowers in the background. The palate, meanwhile, is medium bodied with fresh acidity and excellent tannin structure, these being fine and tightly packed and it must be said that the oak (only 20% new) is extraordinarily well judged, obtruding neither on nose or palate.
The wine happens to be both pure and refreshing yet intricate – not nearly as exotic as you might think given the blend but rather possessing a sense of completeness about it that perhaps comes from the winemaking team not being bound by any pre-existing template. Price: R260 a bottle.
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