Donovan is truly one of the most talented winemakers in the South African wine industry. He specialises in finding small and old parcels of vineyards. He is mainly looking for Mediterranean grape varieties in Swartland and Stellenbosch. The name ‘Tea Leaf’ was given to this wine for two reasons. The first refers the uniqueness of the vineyard where the main grapes are sourced… a lost block of 70-year-old, ungrafted, bush vine Chenin Blanc, 750m above sea level in the Piekenierskloof region of the far north Western Cape. This single rocky slope is also home to South Africa’s highest rated Grenache block and grows amongst the regions indigenous rooibos tea plants. Because rooibos cannot be cultivated and only grows wild, where it does grow, even it that be in the middle of your ancient Chenin block where the vines vie for nutrition in these harsh mountain soils, you have to let it be. Donovan is always on the lookout for amazing fruit that he can craft into something even more amazing; wines from old forgotten vineyards or isolated sites that are full of character, charm and flavour. Donovan trained with Eben Sadie and Miles Mossop before doing his own thing – creating wonderfully honest and natural wines that punch way above their weight.
The bouquet shows notes of vanilla, toast and some exotic pineapple and lemon nuances. The palate is broad, textured and toasty with hints of honeycomb and some yellow citrus. The acidity is vibrant due to no malolactic fermentation in this vintage and gives great focus and backbone to a wine as textured as this.