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Thorne & Daughters 'Cat's Cradle' Chenin Blanc Swartland 2022

South Africa Collection by Philglas & Swiggot

  • Size: 750ml
  • Vintage: 2022
  • ABV: 13%
  • Origin: Swartland/South Africa
  • Grapes: Chenin Blanc


Thorne & Daughters was started in 2013 by John and Tasha Seccombe with the aim of producing authentic wines from the Western Cape. It is widely acknowledged to be one of the forerunners of the ‘New Wave’ wine movement in South Africa. Thorne & Daughters is mainly focused on producing Cape white blends, from 15 different growers in Bot River, Stellenbosch, Voor Paardeberg, Swartland, Citrusdal, Franschhoek and Overberg. Fruit sourcing has relied on a network of close winemaking friends and knocking on doors to gather the various parcels with which they work. John and Tasha did not want to be limited geographically, so the net was cast wide and has been driven by “a happy synergy of people, place, soil and vines”.

The Chenin Blanc grapes for the ‘Cat's Cradle’ are sourced from a single vineyard planted in 1979 in the ‘Langkloof’ (Long Valley) on Swartland’s Paardeberg mountain. The soils are composed of decomposed granite and the 40-year-old bush vines produce small yields of very concentrated fruit. The vineyards are farmed sustainably and the grapes are harvested by hand.

This is a very clear and bright expression of Chenin Blanc. On the nose, aromas of white peaches combine with ground almonds, frangipane and floral nuances. On the palate, the wine has a lovely creamy texture and a vibrant acidity balances the precise and concentrated flavours which endure on the lingering finish.

Cat's Cradle comes from vines planted in 1971 and 1979 on decomposed granite soils on the Paardeberg and is what John Seccombe calls "my enfant terrible". Sappy, focused, intense and tannic with remarkable extract, notes of fennel and wet stones and some skin contact bitterness and structure.

94 points, Tim Aitkin