‘Are we there yet’ 2018 made by one of my absolute favourite South African producers Duncan Savage is a rather novelty blend. It is made from 50% Touriga Nacional and 50% Syrah.
Everyone knows what Syrah is – the great grape of the Northern Rhône. Mr Savage is a master with this varietal.
Touriga Nacional may not appear on everyone’s radar. It is the great grape of the Douro Valley in Northern Portugal – most famous for its key role in the blends that make up Port wine.
I have to admit that I have never heard of these two varietals being blended to make a wine. I am sure someone in Australia does it, but I have neither tasted nor, indeed, heard of their efforts.
Duncan Savage is a great winemaker, though, can he make a success of this unusual bi-varietal blend? Let us see!
‘Are we there yet’ Touriga Nacional/Syrah blend 2018, Duncan Savage
This has a deliciously fruity nose: blackberries, blackcurrants, hints of plum and cherry. Most attractive!
The alcohol is very moderate. There is no silliness with lots of new oak, either.
It has a good peppery spiciness to it and there is a green bramble-leaf character; these give it a shade of increased complexity.
That shade of complexity is as far as it goes. Whilst the nose of this wine is extremely winsome, it does not really pulse with dimension.
There is nothing really wrong with being highly attractive, but a bit simple – a lot of people really go for that sort. However, you will not be exciting any super-nerdy wine anoraks, though. I think this smells terrific and I’m looking forward to tasting it.
There is a pleasing amount of delicious fruit bursting on the palate, it is quite lovely and highly enjoyable. It is not all that extracted for a South African wine either. Pure fun!
The savoury pepper and bramble leaf characteristics add a bit of complexity. However, this palate is all about pleasure and enjoyment rather than about shimmering with layers of profound intricacy.
I repeat, there is nothing wrong with that. The wine is just a drink-crowd would be blown away by this, it is just so god-damn lovely! I have greatly enjoyed this bottle I popped to celebrate 19 years to the day since The Editor moved to the UK.
If it’s complexity, sophistication and style you are looking for Duncan Savage can do that in spades, just look at some of the other wines of his I have reviewed. Save this for the non-obsessives, they will be deeply impressed by your good taste!
You can buy this at Hanford Wines.
Great note, as always. The guy’s got talent – and quite a lot of luck. I understand that originally he was planning to harvest the Syrah and the Touriga separately, but he couldn’t be bothered driving all the way back there again and did them together. He liked how it turned out, and so does that deliberately now. 😉
It’s super-delicious, Alex. I think he is currently one of my favourite winemakers worldwide (if it is even possible to say such a thing). He’s an absolute god with Syrah. I’ve never been much of a fan of Touriga Nacional table wines, so having something as scrummy as this was a revelation.