Thorne & Daughters new releases

By , 8 June 2020



The 2019s from John Seccombe of Thorne & Daughters are out and what an elegant and sophisticated collection they make. Tasting notes and ratings as follows:

Thorne & Daughters Tin Soldier 2019
Price: R300
From Semillon Gris. Skin-fermented portion reduced to 40% in an effort to achieve more “vinosity”. A shy nose before a palate that is not overtly fruity but rather about its tangy acidity and grippy texture – subtle flavours of bittersweet orange and dried herbs make this intellectually demanding.

CE’s rating: 93/100.

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Thorne & Daughters Paper Kite 2019
Price: R350
From a Swartland vineyard of Semillon and Semillon Gris planted in 1963. Aromatics of citrus, hay and some waxiness. The palate is relatively rich and smooth textured but nicely balanced due to fresh acidity, the finish gently savoury.

CE’s rating: 92/100.

Thorne & Daughters Snakes & Ladders 2019
Price: R350
From a Skurfberg Sauvignon Blanc vineyard planted in 1997. Intensely aromatic with notes of citrus, blackcurrant, granadilla and pineapple plus some leesy complexity. The palate is super-rich with a slightly oily texture but also has a great line of acidity – an extravagant rendition of the variety.

CE’s rating: 92/100.

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Thorne & Daughters Cat’s Cradle 2019
Price: R300
From Swartland Chenin Blanc. A return to form after the somewhat under-done 2018. Citrus, stone fruit and just a little waxy character. The palate is rich and broad despite an alcohol of just 13% with a nice piquancy about it. This takes time to unfurl in the glass and is ultimately very characterful.

CE’s rating: 94/100.


Thorne & Daughters Rocking Horse 2019
Price: R265
The “cornerstone wine” of the range, this is probably the best vintage to date. A blend of 36% Roussanne, 25% Semillon, 22% Chenin Blanc, 11% Chardonnay and 6% Clairette Blanche. The nose is extraordinarily complex with notes of green, yellow and white fruit (take your pick) plus florals, spice and some leesy complexity. The palate has lovely fruit definition, racy acidity and great length. Beautifully balanced and offering layers and layers of flavour, this once again delivers a winning combination of moreishness and cerebral satisfaction

CE’s rating: 97/100.

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Thorne & Daughters Wanderer’s Heart 2019
Price: R265
66% Grenache, 21% Mourvèdre and 12% Shiraz – no Cinsault in this vintage and arguably more refined as a result. A pretty nose with top notes of flowers, herbs and spice before wild berry. The palate is light-bodied with lovely fruit purity, fresh acidity and powdery tannins. Accessible without being simple, this has lip-smacking refreshment value.

CE’s rating: 92/100.

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5 comment(s)

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    Carl | 10 June 2020

    I have to agree with PK. R265 pb for wines rated North of 95 points is not expensive. You can get a bottle of Pandora’s Box at a reasonable R100/3 for a M-A gold medal white. But one can hardly compare the two. The effort and intellectual capital invested in the former wine by the winemaker and grape farmer is immense. I find it hard to believe it is possible to produce wine of similar quality at a lower cost in the US. Perhaps the wines were offered on discount or at a loss in order to move stock.
    My experience from a recent visit to Spain and Portugal was that there is very good wine at comparable prices (EU/ZAR16) but that the 95 pointers were much more expensive. Unless a 95 Niepoort is not equal in value to a 95 SA white wine.

    PK | 10 June 2020

    No offence but R265/bottle for arguably one of SA’s top white blends, over-delivering one vintage after another… and we complain about it?!?! Living abroad and complaining about the price of SA wines compared to that of US wines, I am confused by this. I am UK based running wine retail stores with a huge focus on SA wines, as well as Cali and the rest of the world. People happily pay £27/bottle for Rocking Horse in the London trade. Gone are the days of wanting to pay a certain price for wine from certain destinations. Let’s start paying for the quality that is in the bottle and move past these old ways of thinking and drinking wine… with all due respect of course.

    I am happy to pay £30/bottle for a white Rhone or Southern French blend from a good producer, but when it comes to one of SA’s top white blends I am not willing to pay for it… Why is that? Is it because of the exchange rate, the effort the winemaker puts in, how much it costs him/her to make the wine, or just because it is from SA? The only way we can be taken seriously is by taking ourselves seriously and that reflects the way we price our wine. SA wines has never been in a stronger position in terms of consumer perception n oversees markets and much of the reason for this is a lot of winemakers are getting the pricing structures right. Consumers in all markets are now happily paying £20-30/bottle for SA wines (and more) now questions asked, but as South Africans, we want to still pay R100 a bottle. If you ask £10 or R100/bottle, no offence but you will not be taken seriously.

    As consumers, we have to accept that the wine from our motherland is finally seen as world-class, which also means the markets will now start demanding the price. Also, everything is getting more and more expensive on the production side of things in terms of labour costs, overheads, not to mention fuel, how is the winemaker suppose to deliver quality while his/her profit margin erodes away? Not even to mention the growers.

    We need to move past this and help our industry grow. Don’t get me wrong I like a bargain as much as the next guy/girl and sometimes feel the winemaker should be wearing a ski-mask when trying to sell wine to me at that price, but funnily enough, I find that a lot with Californian wines and EU wines over here in the UK.

    David Smith | 9 June 2020

    I hope that there is a wine drinkers rebellion at some stage or other. The prices are getting out of hand, and are getting comparable to the prices of top class American wines (in Canada which I know well). This is stupid.
    In Canada for CD$27 (R300) you can buy a top class Cab or Cab blend from the Sonoma, NAPA or Paso Robles areas which will knock your socks off. And of course they are much cheaper in the US itself.

    Vic | 9 June 2020

    R265 plus for SA whites? Things are going crazy here it seems.

      Udo | 14 June 2020

      R265 for a worldclass white is a steal! Stock up as much as you can.
      Or come to Europe where you will pay at least R380 or much more for the same wine.

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