Bruce Jack is back in the South African wine industry on his own terms “after a hiatus of five or six years” – he continues to work for Accolade Wines South Africa, which own Flagstone Winery and Kumala, but now also gets to be the face behind the wines made on the family farm called The Drift, situated on the Akkedisberg between Caledon and Napier.
Jack describes the property “as distinct from anywhere else in South Africa” and “at the cutting edge of what can be done” – he acknowledges the innovation coming out of the Swartland but points out that the area has long been known for wine production whereas the Overberg is more or less virgin territory. Situated some 45km from the ocean, The Drift is 204ha in size of which 12ha are planted to vineyard at around 480m above sea level – Jack says the “average temperature is well below Bordeaux” and speaks of “wonderfully diverse soils”.
The Drift The Year of the Rooster Rosé 2014
Approximate retail price: R110
From Touriga Franca. Strawberry, sour cherry and a slight earthiness. Lively acidity and a bone-dry finish. “A food rosé rather than a Jacuzzi rose” in the words of Jack and more a light red wine than anything else.
The Drift Moveable Feast Red Blend 2013
Approximate retail price: R350 (to be released February 2015)
30% Shiraz, 20% Tannat, 19% Malbec and the rest Barbera and Touriga Nacional. 10% not destemmed and partial spontaneous fermentation. 14 months in French and American oak, 15% new. Lovely aromatics including red and black fruit, spice, lavender and fynbos. Pure fruit, bright acidity and tannins which provide just the right amount of grip. Invigorating to drink.
The Drift There are Still Mysteries Pinot Noir 2012
Approximate retail price: R850
A subtle but complex nose showing cherry, red currant and some forest floor. Good fruit concentration, fresh acidity and fine tannins – soft without being soupy and possessing real presence. Nicely observed and unlike any other SA Pinot.
The Drift Gift Horse Barbera 2013
Approximate retail price: R560
Dark fruit, fresh herbs and spice plus a definite vanilla note. Rich and full on the palate with super-ripe fruit and firm tannins, although zippy acidity does lend some sort of balance. A curious wine – not without intrigue but currently feels unresolved.