South Africa revisited part 8


I’d met Willie de Waal and his wife Tania when I had dinner at their farm, back in 2005, so it was nice to catch up with him and retaste his wines. He’s the fifth generation to farm his property in the southern part of the Paardeberg, and wine has been made from it for three generations.

However, Willie’s grandfather stopped making wine when the co-op system started in the 1900s, and it was only in 1993 that Willie decided he’d like to try his hand with the family’s grapes, with the first proper release in 1999. Currently, he sells grapes and makes wine. ‘Winemaking started as a hobby,’ he explains, ‘but I’m still driven by a love for wine.’

Three wines are made, with a total production of 2000 cases. ‘It’s small,’ Willie says, ‘but we have fun.’ Natural ferments are employed, and there is no filtering or fining. The main income of the farm is still the grape growing, with a total of 70 hectares under vine. He is in the third year of converting to organics. ‘I have a dream to get off the grid, too, by generating our own electricity,’ he explains.

One of the wines is a Pinotage, and it’s one of the few examples of this variety that I’ve really liked. ‘Pinotage is a very generous vine. Without any problems you can go up to 15 tons/hectare, which is crazy,’ he explains. ‘But if you bring your production levels down it will ripen earlier and it will ripen properly.’


Scali Blanc 2007
70% Chenin, 20% Chardonnay, 10% Viognier, with three days on the skins, and some foot treading. Deep gold colour. Very rich apricot, herb, spice and marmalade nose. The palate is lively with intense tangerine fruit and notes of herbs and nuts. Amazingly alive with real freshness and some structure. A brilliant wine. 94/100

Scali Pinotage 2006
Low yields, and 30 days maceration, before maturing in French oak. Smooth, sweet, rich, ripe nose with some elegance, and notes of red fruits, herb and spice. The palate is fresh and savoury with warm, sweet herbal notes under the spicy fruit. Quite elegant and bright with some smooth, warm, subtly earthy notes. A lovely wine. 91/100

Scali Syrah 2005
30 days skin contact in open-top fermenters, then aged for two years in French oak, of which 40% is new. Soils decomposed granite and some shale. Fresh, sweet herby nose with a hint of mint and distinctive spiciness. The palate is savoury and pure with robust, spicy, slightly earthy structure. Ripe, full and quite robust. 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

see also: Photos of Swartland

Wines tasted 11/09  
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