Tulbagh Mountain Vineyards Woolworths Limited Release Spectrum 2008
By Christian Eedes, 14 March 2011
Spectrum 2008 was made by Callie Louw during his brief stint at Tulbagh Mountain Vineyards and drinking it yesterday I can see why Marc Kent was so keen to poach him away to work on the Porcelain Mountain project in the Swartland.
Bottled exclusively for retail chain Woolworths, this wine was rated 5 Stars in Platter’s 2010. It’s a blend of 62% Chenin Blanc, 14% Chardonnay, 9% Grenache Blanc, 8% Roussane and 7% Viognier. Cellar treatment was oxidative, the components fermented separately in a combination of 600-litre, old-oak barrels and Nomblot cement “eggs”. No cultured yeasts were used and fermentation was very slow (up to six weeks). Malolactic fermentation was allowed and the wine was left on the lees without sulphur additions. After one year, the wine was racked and blended.
Not exactly mainstream stuff and I recall Woolworths wine selector Allan Mullins telling me it was a slow mover despite its high rating in Platter’s (original selling price: R125 a bottle). According to the back label, the emphasis in making it was on “texture, tertiary flavours and palate weight” but what impressed me about it was rather its relative fruitiness and freshness, this as opposed to many other local wines in a similar style that are so rich and concentrated that they end up being difficult to drink in any great quantity. The other notable feature of Spectrum 2008 was its finish, long and savoury to the point of saline, which I found simultaneously curious and appealing. Overall, rather delicious.