Duncan Savage, previously the winemaker at Cape Point Vineyards, introduced his own label in 2011 with a goal to produce rock-solid, classic and elegant wines. Through his time at Cape Point, Duncan grew to understand maritime vineyards, which led him to source grapes for Savage wines from maritime and high altitude sites around the Western Cape. These small, hand-selected parcels receive a lot of love and attention throughout the growing season. Each vineyard’s unique terroir contributes in its own special way to the blends. Savage wines are inspired by the great older reds from South Africa and abroad that have stood the test of time, and are made with gentle extraction, minimal intervention, and moderate alcohol.
The Savage White 2019 is an impressive blend of 54% Sauvignon Blanc, 28% Semillon and a slightly larger than usual 18% Chenin Blanc. Grapes were all whole bunch pressed and fermented with approximate 80% of the wine undergoing malolactic fermentation before being aged 10 months in old 500 litre oak barrels. A blend of Kaaimansgat, Villiersdorp and Piekenierskloof fruit, this wine displays a fresh, cool, crystalline vibrancy, fragrant pithy white citrus and green apple zest and a subtle waxy, fleshy, bruised pear savoury hint. On the palate, the message of clarity, purity and precision is clear to see with sherbety acids spritzing up the fringes and adding extra frame and linearity to the exotic tart tangerine, grapefruit, kumquat and pineapple pastille concentration.
Savage Red is perhaps the most classically proportioned of all the reds, this Syrah dominated blend has a beautifully complex nose of perfumed dried roses, black berry fruits, grilled herbs, cured meats, garrigue, fynbos and dusty granitic minerality. Very forward and opulent, the 2016’s are showing wonderful overt confidence and composure already at this early stage. Indeed the Savage red is often the one specific wine that demands a few extra years in bottle before showing you its full potential. The palate is so fleshy and forward with accessibly soft, harmonious tannins and sleek vibrant acids that elevate the red cranberry and strawberry fruit flavours and highlight the wines impressive palate concentration and depth.
Savage 'Follow the Line' is a possessing youthful red plum translucent color, it has all the perfume lift and exuberance you would expect from old vine Cinsault. The nose is aromatically charged, brimming with fresh violets, cherry blossom, rose water, lychee skins, sun dried cranberries, potpourri and an exotic touch of Turkish delight. Wonderful purity and clarity are always hallmarks of this wine as are the radiant fresh acids and bright, crunchy, sappy red berry fruits.
The Savage 'Thief in the Night' 2019 blend retains a punchy slug of 61% Grenache, a slightly elevated 26% Syrah and a fine supporting 13% Cinsault from the Piekenierskloof. Components were again picked on the same day and co-fermented, unlike 2017, with the grapes spending 2 weeks on their skins using 20% whole-bunches. After 11 months of ageing in 3,200-litre conical foudre, the wine was bottled unfiltered off its fine lees. In bottle, the aromatics display a wonderfully crisp, pure delineated red cherry-scented top note with plenty of granitic minerality and graphite in support. Subtle notes of sweet sappy red currant and red plum confit allow the nose to retain an element of broodiness but there is no holding back the palate, however, which bristles with delicious vibrancy, wild strawberry, a bright pinpoint acidity and again an opulent, glycerol weightless intensity and concentration.
Savage 'Are we There Yet' certainly has its own bold vinous personality and reveals a dark, deep damson plum colour and an equally deep, dark broody aromatic profile.
Savage 'Girl Next Door' is a wine that we first encountered while on a buyers trip to VinItaly, our South African specialist brought it along (as they do) and opened it among serious Italian reds, while we were sitting having a braai (BBQ) in the beautiful hills just outside of Veneto. It was hands down the wine of the night, the elegance, purity and silkiness this Syrah from the windswept vineyards of Noordhoek in the Cape showed, was something special.