The Original Spaniard
Wine of Origin
Equal parts of Garnacha (Grenache), Monastrell (Mouvedre) and Cariñena (Carignan)
Wine Maker: Pieter H. Walser
Owning a farm limits you to the vineyards on your specific farm. I love traveling and experiencing many different areas. I want to make area specific wines, wines that will be ambassadors for areas. I harvest 55 tons from 47 vineyards; 26 different varietals and growing – anything from Fernao Pirez to Cabernet. In the 2015 harvest, I drove 13 000 killometers in 100 days to pick my grapes.
Vineyard-site selection is where all wine begins, and to me personally, one of my most crucial decisions. All the vineyards grow near Darling – West coast side of the Swartland – warmer, dryer parts of South Africa, very similar climate to Northern Spain.
Vinification and Aging
A rebirth of the once-off and very well received: BLANKbottle “The Spaniard” 2007. A then 4-way blend made up of cultivars hailing (500BC) from ancient Spain – Garnacha, Monastrell, Cariñena with a bit of Cinsault; grown in places like Wellington, Swartland and Piekenierskloof.
Due to it’s popularity, I set out to repeat the wine in 2009 but it ended up being much fuller/richer than the 2007 vintage (such is the reality and beauty of working with a live product!) So was birthed BLANKbottle The Big Spaniard. Around that same time Woolworths approached me to produce a wine based on the principles of the Spaniard, exclusive to them and removed from the BLANKbottle range of wines. To confuse the Spanish matters even further I then, as part of my trial blends for Woolworths, produced The Little Spaniard 2011, which I released as a BLANKbottle wine. Subsequently Woolworths “The Spaniard” saw the light, which is still available in most Woolworths shops country-wide.
But none of the above-mentioned new Spanish family members were close to the 2007 in style. After a few more years of having fun, I finally ended up with something very close to the 2007 Spaniard. So, to me, the logical name should be “The ORIGINAL SPANIARD.”
The 2013 “Original Spaniard” pours a deep Ruby color in the glass. The wine shows classic characteristics of all 3 varietals in the bottle. Wild, brambly fruit from the Grenache, a rustic and meaty edge from the Mouvedre, and a touch of tannin and acidity from the Carignan.
2013 Vintage Notes
The 2013 vintage was without a doubt one of the most challenging yet rewarding vintages of the past few years. Superb winter and spring conditions set the stage, but this was followed by occasional humid conditions in February and March which meant that canopy management before veraison was the key to healthy fruit. The growing season was a good one, with quantity up around 5 to 20 percent, depending on where you were, and good quality thanks to a long and lovely ripening period. Our only challenge was a lot of rain and cold over Easter when we were mid-harvest.