Hermit on the Hill
South Africa revisited part 13

Pieter de Waal (above) describes himself as a 'vintrepeneur'. He has a background in tourism, but now works mainly in wine, doing all range of tasks. He was for a while the head of the Durbanville Wine Association, and is currently coordinating the Sauvignon Blanc Interest Group. As well as this, he makes some wine under the Hermit on the Hill label.

His first official vintage was in 2000 - he made a Syrah in the Coleraine cellar in Paarl, together with Clive Kerr. His first experience with Grenache was in 2004, with Louis Nel in the Warwick cellar. Now his label-only operation has spread to three different cellars, and since 2007, when he left the Durbanville Wine Association and found he had more time on his hands, production has ramped up 1000 cases a year.

Every year, Pieter makes something different, and his small production is hand sold: he doesn't enter wine competitions. His approach is a natural one, working with wild yeasts and as little intervention as possible.

Hermit on the Hill White Knight 2009
This is a blend of two-thirds Sauvignon and one-third Semillon with a smidgeon of Muscat. Some of the Sauvignon was handled oxidatively in 500 litre barrels, fermented on skins and stalks. Pieter was expecting that this would cause a loss of acidity, so he picked a bit earlier and lost less acid than he was anticipating. Tight and intense with lovely high acidity and grapefruit freshness. Crisp and taut with lovely lemony fruit and real precision. Minerl. 92/100

Hermit on the Hill Infidel 2010
85% Sauvignon, 15% Semillon, all natural fermentation with the Sauvignon on its stalks. Green, minerally, grassy grapefruit nose is very pure. The palate shows bright grassy, green herbal notes with pithy, citrussy notes and some green pepper. Savoury and taut. 90/100

Hermit on the Hill The Red Knight 2009
This is a blend of Syrah from Durbanville and Cinsault from an old block in Paarl that yields just 700 kg from a hectare (this is the last vintage from this block). 13.5% alcohol. Taut and fresh with focused dark cherry and plum fruit. Focused and full with lovely bright berry fruits that manage to achive sweetness and freshness at the same time. Taut acidity and nice tannins: this is so fresh and appealing. 92/100

Part 1, Tulbagh Mountain Vineyards
Part 2, Cape Point Vineyards
Part 3, AA Badenhorst Family Wines
Part 4, Eben Sadie: Sadie Family Wines and Sequillo Cellars
Part 5, Paul Kretzel of Lammershoek
Part 6, Mullineux Family Wines
Part 7, Vondeling
Part 8, Scali
Part 9, Sterhuis
Part 10, Raats
Part 11, Migliarina
Part 12, Charles Back and Fairview
Part 13, Hermit on the Hill
Part 14, Klein Constantia
Part 15, Iona, Elgin
Part 16, Paul Cluver, Elgin
Part 17, Eagles' Nest, Constantia
Part 18, Anthonij Rupert
Part 19, Oak Valley, Elgin
Part 20, Shannon, Elgin

Wines tasted 10/10  
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