Every vintage since the maiden 2008 of the flagship Pinot Noir (originally labelled as “Domaine”, later “Family Vineyards”) from Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley property Newton Johnson has rated 5 Stars in Platter’s. Would the difficult 2014 be the year to break this run?
The answer, as we discovered with the launch of the 2016 edition of the guide recently, is “No” – making it seven 5 Star vintages in a row. Budding interrupted by late winter cold plus disease pressure due to heavy rains in November and then all through the ripening period resulted in all the fruit from the farm’s top three sites combined, the single-vineyard bottlings known as Block 6, Mrs M and Windansea dispensed with this time around.
When the going gets tough, the tough get going and the 2014 really is splendid. Spontaneously fermented, it was matured in French oak, 28% new, 23% second fill, 23% third fill and 26% other. The nose shows notes of musk and roses before cherry, cranberry and pomegranate. The palate, meanwhile, is pure, fresh and light with fine tannins, the extraction very well judged. Extraordinarily pretty and refined. Chapmans Peak Wine & Spirits price: R261.90 a bottle.