I love Ian Naudé’s wines – they are such beautiful expressions of what is grown, where it is grown. Ian would say in the vineyard he helps the grapes be in a condition to express their origins and his winemaking is based around stopping this expression being lost by what he does. I think he is a bloody brilliant winemaker.
Werfdans 2017 is an old vine Cinsault, the vineyard was planted in 1968, that after six years in his care he feels ready to show to the world. The word ‘Werfdans’ refers to the dust devils that dance around his old, dry-farmed, Cinsault bush vines. A poetic name. This wine is about as lovely as poetry can be.
I cannot write more of an introduction without basically spilling the beans about why I love this wine, so I will let my description of the wine do that instead.
Let us sniff, slurp, swallow and swoon!
Werfdans old vine Cinsault 2017, Ian Naudé
It was 31℃ in Winchester when I decided to open this Werfdans 2017, so to give it a chance to show at its cool, refined, charming best, I stuck it in the fridge for a while.
When I got around to opening the Werfdans 2017, I realised it had to warm up a bit, but I poured myself a taste anyway. A sniff, and the fruit, minerality, depth of flavour and poise made me exclaim, “This smells just like Corton-Bressandes Grand Cru from Chandon de Briailles!” So we are thinking minimalist, total beauty from the first, chilled sniff.
However, this could not be right. Appellation rules do not allow Cinsault to be made into Corton Grand Cru. I let it warm up a bit.
My, how the Werfdans 2017 had blossomed. It blossomed into a fragrant rose of heady, deep aroma, dusted with exotic spices growing in granite soil that someone is furiously chipping with scant regard to the danger to one’s feet.
The unfathomably deep character to these aromas is testament to the struggles the 49-year-old (at the time of harvest) vines have endured in their dust devil-playground. They express this location and their age so clearly; this must be a special place and I want to visit it – this much is certain already.
The glisks of sunlight that refract through the pale coloured Werfdans match the energy and vigour of the palate. It has vital acidity and vivacious stone-y characteristics. Thrills indeed!
It’s florid rose and redcurrant fruit flavours are as profound as they are elegant and refined, and the exotic spice characteristics that add to the supremely happiness-provoking, stylish nature of this wine just make me want to grin one of my broad, silly grins.
There is depth and, dare I say it, real concentration of flavour despite this Werfdans clocking in at a mere 12.5%. It has real poise and balance between concentration and finesse, involute eclat and minimalist elan.
The finish just goes on and on.
This is, indeed, what Ian aims for – the character of its origins captured in the medium of vinous style, and I love it. I know some people like opaque, 15% wines that taste of minestrone soup, but this is a whole realm of beauty that is worth anyone’s time exploring.
At six years old this Werfdans 2017 is a sententious supermodel clad in chicly revealing robes that you can happily throw yourself at as they walk down the catwalk, but I do not think there is any harm in leading them to your cellar to ravish in your own good time.
Buy from Museum Wines.