On our recent trip to South Africa we were afforded the opportunity to try a lot of very well made wines at the Cape Wine Show. There were many standouts but what really came to the fore was the overall quality across the board for almost everything. The wines now coming out of the Cape really are gems that people are ever so slowly starting to figure out. The pricing on some of the wines when they reach our shores, even with all the middle men taking their slice of the pie, are still remarkably inexpensive relative to their quality. The one category that seems to have really improved was Pinot Noir, which has been a weak link in the overall South African category for a number of years. What were once just a few standouts has now expanded and more importantly, offers great value, something that doesn’t always equate with the varietal.
Having tried the wines of John Secombe and his Thorne and Daughter’s lineup we were really impressed with his 2021 Copper Pot Pinot Noir, we knew it was good and just recently it was awarded a 92 pt review as well as a Platter 90 score, which helped validate what we tasted. It’s now available and for $19.99 a bottle you can try a terrific value oriented Pinot Noir. A great play for lovers of the varietal.
92 pts Wine Spectator Feb 2023
A bright, appealing red, with wild raspberry, strawberry and cherry fruit flavors front and center. A ripe, juicy version, with fragrant details of woodsy spices, dried thyme and a streak of stony minerality echoing on the lasting finish. Drink now through 2028. 1,250 cases made, 500 cases imported.
4 ½ Stars 2023 Platter’s South African Wine Guide
Cherry aromatics & dark-fruit flavours with medium grip, (90 pts) continues the uptick in quality from 20. 60-80% wholebunch ferment with minimal extraction preserves elegance. Super value ex Cape South Coast.
We first began producing our Copper Pot Pinot noir as a dedicated wine for our family’s hotel, Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse, in the KZN Drakensberg. Since then the wine has taken on a life of its own and we feel very privileged to be able to work with this cultivar in one of South Africa’s best Pinot noir growing regions.
We love Pinot noir for its supple, delicate power and its ability to elegantly and honestly express its origins. We take to heart the challenge of producing a great wine from this exacting varietal and like so many other Pinot lovers you will often find a bottle on our table.
We vinify the wine as sympathetically as possible with wild yeasts, a percentage of whole cluster ferments and maturation in old oak barrels.
This year’s vintage has a perfumed nose showing mulberries, humbugs, rosewater, and buchu. Tannins are fine while the palate is fresh with complex, balancing savoury notes of mace mixed with plums, redcurrants and dried fig.
Our Pinot Noir is sourced from a handful of vineyards in the Overberg region, where good soils (predominantly clay/shale and quartz/sandstone) and cool growing conditions combine to produce wonderful Pinot Noir that is both rich and perfumed. We also source from a small parcel of organically farmed Pinot noir in the Bottelary hills on decomposed granite soil.
Pinot Noir has always played a role in our work in wine and it is a grape that we are very passionate about. We try to be as precise as possible when we pick the grapes, allowing for a generous fruit maturity without losing the freshness and tension that we love in the wines.
The 2020/2021 growing season was very cool and mild with plenty of rainfall during the green season which saw a lot of weed and mildew pressure during the growing season. A cool harvest period saw the grapes ripening up at surprisingly low sugar levels resulting in very fine-boned and elegant wines.
Our winemaking is as minimal as possible. All our ferments take place using wild yeasts, and we don’t use any additives (other than minimal SO2 at crush and during maturation). 40-60% of whole clusters are used in the fermentation to bring a natural structure and savouriness to the wines. Extraction is kept very gentle using a combination of pump-overs and punchdowns, and the wines spend about 30 days on skins in total to allow a gentle evolution of their structure.
The wines are matured for 9 months in a mix of older small French oak barrels to avoid a dominant oak character, and round out their structure before blending and bottling. Our focus during maturation is to retain a brightness and clarity of fruit that we really appreciate in Pinot Noir.