Damascene new releases

By , 24 October 2023

The ascent of the Damascene label continues. A partnership between winemaker Jean Smit and David Curl, former owner of Bordeaux’s Chateau Gaby, grapes are sourced from around the winelands. Tasting notes and ratings for the new releases as follows:

Damascene W.O. Swartland Chenin Blanc 2022
Price: R495
Grapes from two Paardeberg vineyards planted in 1979 and 1983 respectively. Tangerine, orange, peach, earth, ginger and other spice on the nose while the palate has good weight and snappy acidity, that intriguing bitter quality that this variety often shows on the finish. A little extra broadness compared to the previous vintage. Alc: 12.92%

CE’s rating: 94/100.

Damascene W.O. Stellenbosch Chenin Blanc 2022
Price: R495
Grapes from three Bottelary vineyards planted in 1972, 1980 and 1982 respectively. Complex aromatics of pear, peach, nectarine, lemon and fynbos while the palate shows very good delineation and directness – pure fruit and bright acidity before a salty finish. Absolutely packed with flavour. Alc: 13.14%.

CE’s rating: 95/100.

Damascene Semillon 2022
Price: R495
From two Franschhoek blocks planted in 1942 and 1962 respectively. Matured for 11 months in 1000-litre foudre. Wonderfully complex aromatics of lime, peach, nectarine, thatch, floral perfume and dried herbs while blackcurrant reveals itself with time in glass. The palate, meanwhile, is exceptionally well balanced with great clarity of fruit, no shortage of freshness and a salty finish. Alc: 13.21%.

CE’s rating: 96/100.

Damascene W.O. Stellenbosch Syrah 2022
Price: R495
Grapes from Bottelary and Polkadraai. 75% whole-bunch fermented. Matured for 11 months in 2 000-litre vats. Gun-smoke like reduction sits alongside notes of floral perfume, red and black berries, fresh herbs and white pepper. The palate has lovely poise and detail – relatively light-bodied but great flavour intensity, vibrant acidity and fine tannins. Alc: 13.1%.

CE’s rating: 98/100.

Damascene W.O. Swartland Syrah 2022
Price: R495
Grapes from Riebeeksrivier on schist and Paardeberg on granite. 75% whole-bunch fermented. Matured for 11 months in 2 000-litre vats. Flinty reduction before red and black berries, lavender, olive, some meatiness and pepper. Rich and round – lots of ripe fruit, moderate acidity and powdery tannins. Alc: 12.93%.

CE’s rating: 93/100.

Damascene W.O. Cere Plateau Syrah 2022
Price: R495
60% whole-bunch fermented. Matured for 11 months in 1 000-litre vats. Red currant, raspberry and black cherry to go with orange, jasmine and white pepper. Light-bodied (alcohol is 13.16% with lemon-like acidity and a creamy texture. Super-elegant. Alc: 13.16%.

CE’s rating: 93/100.

Damascene Cabernet Franc 2022
Price: R495
Grapes from a Bottelary vineyard. Matured for 11 months in 1000-litre foudre. The nose is deeply perfumed with notes of cranberry, strawberry, potpourri and dried herbs. Good clarity of fruit, bright acidity and powdery tannins – already quite accessible. Alc: 13.33%.

CE’s rating: 93/100.

Damascene Cabernet Sauvignon 2021
Price: R495
Grapes from Fruit from Bottelary, Helderberg and Vlottenburg (near Polkadraai Hills). Matured for 12 months in barrique before being transferred to 2 000-litre vats for a further 12 months. Enticing aromatics of rose, violets, red and black berries plus pencil shavings.  The palate is not short of concentration or depth despite an alcohol of just 13.56%. Great purity, bright acidity and immaculate tannins – grippy without being astringent, the finish super-long.

CE’s rating: 97/100.

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