10 Cape winemakers to watch

Duncan Savage, Savage Wines

Duncan SavageOne of the few winemakers who manages to switch between the “establishment” and “maverick” camps with apparent ease, Duncan Savage balances his day job heading up Cape Point Vineyards’ impressive operation with his own enterprise, Savage Wines – not to mention a fair bit of time indulging his second love, surfing.

Having built up something of a cult following for his Savage red, a Syrah/Grenache/Cinsault blend first made in 2011, he has now added a straight Syrah called Girl Next Door, and a Cinsault-led Rhône blend called Follow The Line to the range.

“I’ve done whites for so long at Cape Point that it’s been such a challenge to figure this red thing out,” remarks Savage.

Explaining the thought behind Follow The Line – a name that refers to the telegraph wires he was told to use in order to track down the vineyard – Savage comments: “A lot of people are focusing on Cinsault again. On its own it can be a bit limiting but in a blend it’s amazing. It’s light in colour but it ages brilliantly – you see a lot of those big, ripe styles fall apart after five or six years.”

As for Girl Next Door, whose maiden 2014 vintage was released in June and has already sold out “to good homes”, Savage explains its name by describing the 3.5ha vineyard’s straggly, wind swept vines surrounded by a housing estate on the Cape Peninsula, just up the road from his home. Following the success of its first year, he’s now secured a 20-year lease on the plot.

Savage notes that challenge of continuity as a major difference between producers who work on the traditional estate model and many of these younger winemakers. “They’re completely different camps but they feed off each other in the market,” he suggests. “They’re so different that they actually complement each other.”

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