Black Elephant Vintners The Dark Side of the Vine Semillon 2017

By , 27 July 2021

While the 2015 vintage of The Dark Side of the Vine Semillon from Black Elephant Vintners was staggeringly good, I recall being somewhat nonplussed as to how very oxidative the 2016 was. Happily, the 2017 is a return to form.

Grapes from a Franschhoek vineyard planted in 1905, winemaking involved 24 hours of skin contact before spontaneous fermentation and maturation lasting 12 months in two old 500-litre French oak barrels.

The nose is wonderfully complex with notes of pear, peach, yellow apple, naartjie, thatch, vanilla, cinnamon, and white pepper, and other spice plus some flinty reduction while the palate is lean yet flavourful with bright acidity and a long, salty finish. It’s a wine that’s initially quite reticent but provides increasing pleasure as you engage with it. Price: R385 a bottle.

CE’s rating: 93/100.

Check out our South African wine ratings database.

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