Keep it natural, baby.
Johan was the first South African producer to receive the invite to the exclusive 'Brutal!' club of winemakers. Brutal! started from a conversation three winemakers had a few years back (two are Catalan and one is French). The two Catalans, Laureano Serras and Joan Ramon Escoda exclaimed when tasting one of Anthony Tortul's wines that it was 'Brutal!' or as Americans would say 'dope/kick ass.' Anthony didn't get the reference and thought they were saying the wine was garbage. So he made a quick makeshift label with 'Brutal!' handwritten and the rest is history. Today 'Brutal!' is very much part of the 'natural' or 'raw' wine movement. The only requirements are that it’s zero/zero, meaning nothing added and nothing taken out. It also signifies the wine that is an experiment. Today there are roughly 30 producers globally making wines under this invitation only society.
All the grapes are grown from one single vineyard on the Paardeberg Mountain, south of Malmesbury. The vineyard is owned by Barry Schreiber and farmed by his daughter Franziska Wickens, whose husband Jasper produces the Swerver Wines from the vineyard. A small handful of other producers, notably John Seccombe, of Thorne & Daughters. The bush vine vineyard was planted in 1984, and has been dry farmed since its planting. As of 2014 the vineyard has been farmed fully organically with no chemicals sprayed on the vines and soil. The soils are a mixture of decomposed granite and clay with south-west facing slope on altitude of 920 feet.
The fruit was handpicked Stompie's palate looking for really bright acidity and structure. The fruit was whole-bunch fermented with light foot stomping to get the juice flowing and daily punchdowns for the first ten days of fermentation. There it stayed for two weeks on stems and skins under a blanket of CO2. It was then basket pressed into a single 16hL concrete egg for eight months on the gross lees. After aging it was racked directly to the bottling line and was bottled without fining, filtration or SO2.
DATAVintage: 2019Grapes: 100% Chenin BlancVineyard: Kweperfontein VineyardViticulture: Practicing OrganicSoil Type: Decomposed granitic sand intermixed with fractured clayVine Age: 35-years-oldFermentation: Native – open top in stainless steelSkin Contact: 2 weeks including stemsAging: 8 months in 16hL concrete eggAlcohol: 12.2%Residual Sugar: 1.2 g/LpH: 3.56Total Acidity: 6.4 g/LTotal SO2: 7 ppmProduction: 158 cases
TASTING NOTEDeep golden orange. Complex aromas of exotic fruits, apricot, honey glazed nuts, and kumquat marmalade. The palate shows more freshness and liveliness than the nose would lead you to believe. Layers of ripe fruit with chalk-like minerality and rampant acidity keep things vivid. This is serious and structured, but also incredibly drinkable.
Johan Meyer, AKA “Stompie”, has made a name for himself in the ever-emerging South African wine industry in a very short time. While his namesake ‘Signature’ wines reflect his love of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Stompie is not one to limit himself and thus created the Mother Rock Wines wines in collaboration with his UK importer Ben Henshaw of Indigo Wines.
After seeing market quickly drink up the initial Force Majeure (Celeste in the U.S.) wines, they expanded the offerings to include a label called ‘Mother Rock,’ focused on discovering exceptional parcels of sustainably-farmed vines grown on a variety of soil types. The identity of these two ‘brands’ is rooted deep in the South African wine industry with Chenin Blanc at the root of the whites and field blends of the reds. These are terroir-focused wines made to offer drinkability and enjoyment, and it doesn’t hurt that the labels are beautiful.
Much like the ‘Signature’ wines, he has long-term contracts with some of the best growers in the Southern Cape determined to farm their sites organically. In the winery there is no SO2 added before or during fermentation but it’s a natural element that comes from the vines and you will always end up with some SO2 in the wines. That being said the wines are lightly sulfured before bottling for preservation and stability. Ultimately ‘Mother Rock’ is about showcasing the best and purest expression of South Africa’s diverse terroir.
Katie and Denny,
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