Convinced that the Swartland was under-utilised, Charles Back acquired property here in the late 1990s – Klein Amoskuil outside Malmesbury where he intended to focus on Rhône varieties as well as vineyards in Darling Hills which was to be primarily a source of Sauvignon Blanc. Darling became a district in its own right in 2003 somewhat diluting Spice Route’s positioning as a Swartland champion but no matter.
Today, there’s 98ha under vineyard at Klein Amoskuil and since Back recently acquired the vineyards of David and Nicola Tullie which used to supply fruit for the Lanner Hill Sauvignon Blanc as made by Nicky Versfeld, 135ha in Darling.
After some 15 years of farming these vineyards, Spice Route has launched three single vineyard wines under the Terra de Bron label. Tasting notes and scores as follows:
Spice Route Terra de Bron Darling Syrah 2012
18 months in French oak, 25% new. Dark berries, lavender and black pepper on the nose and palate. Massive fruit concentration, bright acidity and firm but fine tannins which provided a powdery sensation in the mouth. Rich but balanced – pure, focused and fresh.
Spice Route Terra de Bron Swartland Mourvèdre 2012
18 months in used French oak. Red and black fruit, scrub and spice. Relatively medium bodied, bright acidity, chewy tannins – wild but not too wild.
Spice Route Terra de Bron Swartland Syrah 2009
21 months in French oak, 45% new. Reductive on the nose. Red and black fruit and a certain raw meat quality. Rich and broad but perhaps a bit tired already.