Bruce Jack is one of South Africa’s most renowned wine makers. He makes wines which are so food friendly – and he has made wine all over the world. I am a great admirer. If you have been following the Advent Calendar, I have been posting every day, you will see more if his wines. The Drift is the Jack Family farm in the Overberg Highlands, down towards Bredasdorp and the Southern Coast of the continent.
The Pinot Noir grapes for this wine come from a certified single vineyard which was planted in 2002 and survived a wild fire which swept over the farm in 2006. The soil in which the vineyard is planted is a clay rich ancient shale with weathered sandstone from the mountainside. The vineyards are tended by hand from pruning to picking.
Once 70% of the bunches are destalked, the grapes are placed in open top fermenting tanks. Here they macerate for a few days before the natural vineyard yeasts start the fermentation. The cap of skins which rises to the top is plunged down very gently 3 times a day. Towards the end of fermentation, the grapes and stalks were pressed and the wine taken to 10% new and the remainder previously filled French oak barrels for 12 to 18 months. During preparation for bottling, the wine was not filtered or fined.
From a Burgundy shaped bottle under natural cork. The label, typical Bruce Jack, is a quirky fonty fun one. In the glass, an almost translucent cherry red black which pales out to the edges. Brilliant complex aromas of a Kerala spice box, red fruit and red cherries. The palate shows in generosity, strawberries, ripe sliced nectarine, chocolate and forest floor fungi after rain. Hugely satisfying and complex wine.
Good idea to chill the wine for about 30. It is good for a gentle sipper as the sun goes down. It is excellent with food, we must remember that this is the wine of Coq au Vin and Boeuf Bourguignon so a lusty dish would be a good partner. Dianne Bibby’s Red Wine Ragu with Rigatoni is the perfect supper dish with The Drift Estate There are still Mysteries Pinot Noir 2016. Click here for her recipe.
The Drift Estate is in the Overberg Wine Appellation. The grapes used in the wine come from 8 small vineyards, most of which are smaller than half a hectare. The blend is made up of Malbec 40%, Syrah 32%, Pinot Noir 10%, Touriga Nacional 10% and Tannat 9%. This blend alters year on year as Bruce looks at his barrels and checks their performance.
This is a spice feisty red with the careful addition of a blend of Malbec and Shiraz with Tannat, Touriga Nacional and Barbera to add a little spice to the blend.
Each variety is treated differently. Most are fermented apart, but as a pioneer of co-fermentation in South Africa, Bruce does have a few secret combinations. Fermented with wild natural yeasts in open top fermenters with between 15% and 100% of the grapes as whole bunches. Hand plunging of the cap below the surface takes place 6 times a day. Once pressed the wines are taken to 225 litre mostly French barrels, 10% of them new, the balance previous fill. Anything from 18 to 24 months ageing takes place before the wines are bended and prepared for bottling. The final wine is a laster and will reward you handsomely if cool cellared for a number of years.
From a Burgundy shaped bottle, closed with a screw cap. The label is luxurious as the wine itself, a beautiful silhouette of various people, Bruce amongst them, a piper and others. In the glass, it is a rich bloodplum at the heat which pales out to ruby at the edges. Rich aromas of dark berry fruits, for which the Overberg is so well known. Scrunched up fynbos herbs with a grind of white pepper and the oak and its concomitant spices. The palate is generous with its cherry and berry fruit, mulberries and roadside brambles. The wine has a lovely soft acidity running through it from entry to aftertaste.
This is serious food wine. Big and bold and can tackle some great food flavours. Dianne Bibby’s Best Marinated Rib Eye Steak will tackle this wine head on. Click here for her recipe.
A tiny little Barbera vineyard, barely 0.4 of a hectare is used to make this wine. Bruce and his team keep the crop very low, only one bunch per shoot on which both mountain buck and porcupines feed. They bottle only in ‘spectacular’ years. Ergo, this is a fabulous year – we all know that 2015 was one of the great vintages of this century. The last wet winter before the drought almost flooded the vineyards, less wind at flowering time and then constant breezes brought the vineyard temperatures down and with cool nights, the Barbera maintained its acidity, giving the freshness for which this wine is known.
The grapes for the Gift Horse Barbera 2017, 50% whole bunches were used, were allowed to macerate in the juice before fermentation with natural vineyard yeasts in open top fermenters began. Once that process was complete, the wine spent 20 months in mostly previously filled 225 litre barrels, 18% of them were new. The wine was then prepared for bottling and allowed to bottle age for 18 months before being available to the public.
From a Bordeaux shaped bottle closed under natural cork and dipped in black wax. The label is an enchanting drawing of a unicorn looking not unlike a playing card. In the glass, it is a purple plum at the heart which pales towards purple garnet at the edges. Aromas of black berries, mulberries and black cherries. There are sweet brown spices and scrunched fynbos herbs. The palate is awash with dark fruit, rich, full at the mid palate and washing down freshness, cleanness, cashmere clad tannins into a long and gently waning aftertaste. This wine is built to last.
Food, food, food. Full tasting food, meat or vegetarian is its partner. Dianne Bibby’s Spicy Mexican Plait with Manchego Cheese is a blow for blow partner for this lovely wine. Click here for her recipe.
Read more about The Drift and it’s amazing wines – CLICK HERE