The Gentle Giant of Haut Espoir

January 24th, 2012 by karen

I have been interacting with Rob on Twitter for over a year now, as we do in this “modern” age 🙂 I’ve tasted, and been impressed by, the Haut Espoir (meaning “high hope”) wines I’ve enjoyed with meals at Wakame and Holden Manz.  As is so often the case though, nothing can compare to the real thing and I thus jumped at the opportunity to head across to the farm for a tasting with Rob a couple of weeks ago. Being based next door to Boekenhoutskloof we are all well aware of the wine this terroir is capable of!

Meeting this gentle giant in person he totally lived up to the good things I had heard about him.  My biggest surprise for the day though, was that the wine is in fact named after the mountain range, and not the man himself:)  In a much needed cool and casual environment we tasted our way though the range of wines along with an opportunity to taste several barrel samples as well.

I fully agree with a few comments being made lately on how well our Sauvignon Blanc’s are ageing in SA.  And now we can add aged Semillon to that list as well!  This Haut Espoir 2006 is the second aged Semillon I have tasted in the last few weeks and have been incredibly impressed with the added depth and dimension bottle age has added to the wine.  The range as a whole is far from apologetic or shy.  In fact, all the wines were very powerful, upfront and demanding of ones attention.  Whilst I enjoyed the Chardonnay, tasting the two separate component in barrel was such an eye-opener! The wild yeast barrels were pure tinned pineapple with the other barrels bringing in the element of butterscotch and texture.  My favourite in the white wine range, which has since been labelled is the Cloud Fall, a white blend of 34% Semillon; 33% Viognier; 26% Nouvelle; 6% Chardonnay and 1% Sauvignon Blanc. Tasting through the individual elements of the Gentle Giant was also a highlight as the art of blending is always highlighted when given the opportunity ti taste each element on its own.  We tasted a couple of vintages of the Shiraz which were both juicy yet distinctly different in character but as far as value for money and intrigue goes the Gentle Giant still won my vote.

Rob is taking on the additional role of winemaker from this vintage with increased focus on bio-dynamic and environmentally conscious practices. I look forward to following this estate with interest!

Haut Espoir

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