“A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” John Keats had it down, which is why we without shame can admit to getting not one, but two, bottles of wine solely because they look so beautiful.
In some sense the wines from the small and specialised Cape Rock winery in South Africa found us, rather than the other way around, but once they where in our possession, we couldn´t stop staring. The bottles are nice, with a natural cork covered with uneven wax, which gives it a feeling of being hand crafted. Still, the real treasures are the labels designed by Monday Design. There is one white and one red blend, but the labels are connected. Nice on their own, yet together they create a third image. And the artwork is great, reminiscent of the Japanese ukiyo-e woodcut style.
The image on the red blend Amnesty, Shiraz with Cinsaut and Grenache, is of a large, scary octopus with burning red eyes and intimidating tentacles roaming the sea. These tentacles show up again on the white blend Asylum, Chenin with Clairette and Colombard, an image essentially of a lighthouse, enveloped by the octopus tentacle. The names of the wines are more part of the images than brands, and no wonder – who calls a bottle of Shiraz for Amnesty? And what has amnesty got to do with a scary sea monster? And why would you want to bring up images of insanity in relation to a bottle of white wine? To be fair, with the image of a lighthouse, one is more likely to think of an asylum as a place of shelter, but still. The names have been root to a good few discussions, but luckily they are outweighed by discussions on taste and characteristics. Most are rave reviews.
Our favorite part of these bottles is winemaker Gavin Brand and Cape Rocks dedication to making natural wine. They use essentially old school methods, natural fermentation on the skin and no modern additives. Sounds great, tastes good. Both wines are especially light in alcohol content, with the white at only 10,8% and the red at 12,5%. This makes them both easy on the pallet, good for drinking on their own, but they also work surprisingly well with food. Other sources are better for judging the wines; we suffice to say we enjoyed both bottles, which is such great news. Next time we buy them, we won´t have to quote Keats in order to walk out shame free.
If you want to meet the people behind these wines you will find them at the natural wine convention in Oslo May 11th.
Asylum Cape Rock Wines 2013, 10,5 % vol.
varenr. 1906401, kr. 149,90
Druer: 78% Chenin Blanc, 12% Clairette blanche, 10% Colombard
Håndplukkede druer fra gamle vinstokker. Naturlig gjæring hvor Clairette og Colombard fikk 5 dager skallkontakt. 40% av Chenin blanc ble gjæret i ståltank, 60% i gamle 300 liters fat i 11 måneder.
Amnesty Cape Rock Wines 2013, 12,5 % vol.
varenr. 1906301, kr. 174,90
Druer:75% Syrah, 17% Cinsault, 5% Grenache, 2% Carignan 1% Mourvèdre,
Håndplukkede druer fra gamle vinstokker. Vinen presses og tilsettes 15% hele drueklaser under gjæring. 11 mnd lagring på gamle eikefat.