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Rall Ava Syrah 2017

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Donovan Rall
Donovan Rall of Rall Wines.

When Donovan Rall first started out back in 2008, there were just two wines, the White and the Red. The range has now expanded to seven (eight if you count the Pét-Nat made exclusively for the Japanese market) but the overall quality is as high as ever. Tasting notes and ratings for the new releases as follows:

Rall Cinsault Blanc 2017
Approximate retail price: R225
From a 0.2ha Wellington vineyard planted in 1989 and the only certified vineyard of this mutation in the country. Left on the skins for 72 hours and then matured in amphora for nine months. There’s a slight leesy quality to an otherwise shy nose while the palate is reminiscent of lemon cordial – light and fresh with a pithy finish. Alcohol: 11%.

Editor’s rating: 88/100.

Rall Grenache Blanc 2017
Approximate retail price: R225
Grapes from a Piekenierskloof vineyard. An elusive yet enticing nose showing pear, white peach, yellow apple and citrus overlain with floral and herbal notes. In the mouth, the flavours unfurl – great front, side and back palate. Light and graceful, lovely freshness and just a little grip on the finish.

Editor’s rating: 95/100.

Rall White 2017
Wine Cellar price: R300
71% Chenin Blanc, 24% Verdelho, 5% Viognier  and the first vintage to exclude Chardonnay. Stone fruit and orange with top notes of potpourri and spice. Lovely presence in the mouth – muscular rather than weighty. Concentrated fruit and tangy acidity before a saline finish. Alcohol: 13.5%.

Editor’s rating: 94/100.

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Rall Ava Chenin Blanc 2016
Sold out.
From a low-bearing 2.4ha vineyard Swartland vineyard plated on schist and just under 20 years old in age. The nose shows citrus and bee’s wax plus a definite but not unattractive reductive note. The palate, meanwhile, has a “fatness” about it despite a moderate alcohol of 13%. Layers and layers of flavour and nicely coated acidity, this is a most striking wine.  Total production: 1000 bottles.

Editor’s rating: 94/100.

Rall Ava Chenin Blanc 2017
Approximate retail price: R450
Again a certain reductive flintiness to the nose and again a palate that is not without grunt. Aromas and flavours of herbs, pear, lemon, naartjie, peach and spice – so, so complex. Excellent fruit purity, fresh acidity and a pithy finish. Has a wonderful vitality and directness about it. Alcohol: 13%.

Editor’s rating: 95/100.

Rall Cinsault 2017
Approximate retail price: R225
Grapes sourced 50:50 from Darling and Swartland. 100% whole-bunch fermentation. A beautiful nose of red cherry, cranberry, earth and spice while the palate has great fruit integrity fresh acidity and tannins which are supple and fine. An elegant and sophisticated rendition of this variety which can tend to make quite rustic wines. Alcohol: 13%.

Editor’s rating: 94/100.

Rall Red 2016
Wine Cellar price: R305
70% Syrah, 15% Cinsault, 8% Grenache and 7% Carignan. 100% whole-bunch fermentation. Red and black fruit, fynbos, pepper and spice on the nose. The palate has a real succulence about it – pure and fresh with lovely ripe tannins, the finish long and savoury. Super-sexy stuff.

Editor’s rating: 93/100.

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Rall Ava Syrah 2017
Approximate retail price: TBC.
From a vineyard adjacent to that which supplies the grapes for Ava Chenin. An utterly seductive nose displaying top notes of lilies and fynbos before black fruit, pepper and a little earthiness. Hugely intense and yet so vivid on the palate. Great fruit expression, lovely freshness and powdery tannins while the finish is extraordinarily long and dry. Manages to combine both gravitas and sexiness making for a riveting drinking experience – the essence of “Syrah”. Unfortunately only 900 bottles made but wines like this boost the reputation of the entire category.

Editor’s rating: 97/100.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Hennie,

    Yes, 97/100 is the highest score yet given and the above wine joins the following:

    Alheit Vineyards La Colline Semillon 2016
    Beaumont Hope Marguerite Chenin Blanc 2016
    Black Elephant Vintners The Dark Side of the Vine Semillon 2015
    Boekenhoutskloof Noble Late Harvest 2005
    Boekenhoutskloof Noble Late Harvest 2006
    David & Nadia Hoë-Steen Chenin Blanc 2016
    Klein Constantia Vin de Constance Sweet wine 2013
    Raats Eden Cabernet Franc 2015
    Sadie Family Wines Columellas 2015
    Sadie Family Wines The Old Vine Series Skurfberg Chenin Blanc 2015

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