Smiley Spesiale 2017 — Chenin Blanc
A Wine That
tastes like you've just jumped headfirst into the best spice cake you've ever had. Walnuts, cinnamon, clove and fresh ginger all wind together, wrapping you in a nutty, spicy hug. You won't want to stop smelling this wine, trust us. If you're already a fan of sherry or Madeira you'll fall head-over-heels for it.
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- Delivery: Delivery and gift wrapping options available at checkout.
- Winemaker: Silwervis
Where & How?
The Spesiale label was created when Ryan & Samantha decided that some wines destined for the Smiley White were so unique on their own, and hence should be bottled separately. It would have been a shame to lose their singularity. As such, this wine is an experimental bottling, and may never happen again. Only 777 bottles (precisely!) were made, so RUN! Once they're gone, they're gone, perhaps never to be seen again...
This Spesiale release is a selection from a 1000 litre tank of flor-aged Chenin blanc, from younger (17-year-old, so not really that young!) vineyards on the Paadeberg Mountain region, in the Swartland, South Africa. It was fermented naturally, and left completely undisturbed in order to preserve the flor (surface yeast) that was growing on the wine. It was a particularly healthy and strong flor, so the wine was left for 24 months. Ryan & Samantha thought it would be a great way to highlight their flor population. Bottled without sulphur, unfined and unfiltered.
Neither Ryan, a Zimbabwean, nor Samantha, from the UK, came from a family background of wine. Their story is one of those magical chance happenings, that led them to become who they are today: two of the brightest young sparks of South African wine. In his early 20s, Ryan often travelled to Basel, Switzerland, with his little brother for medical treatment. It was here of all places where he came across a wine bar that specialised in Piemonte. Ryan thinks back fondly saying,
"that's when I realised there was something really special about wine - you could work with the land in a way that has deep meaning. Something started stirring in my mind."
Next thing he knew, he had ditched working in the Zimbabwean tobacco industry, and through the help of friends found himself in Piemonte learning about winemaking. Ryan and Samantha, already friends, happened to bump into each other in Rome by coincidence, and started dating. They went to South Africa in 2008, as Ryan wanted to show Africa to Samantha. The trip was both intended as a holiday, but also to learn about wine, as the two had already fallen in love with the industry. As Samantha said,
"On that trip, we just got the sense that something incredible was possible there. We loved Italy, but it was very expensive for young people with no connections."
That was that. They finished their studies, moved to South Africa with no plan, just two backpacks between them, living on the road for many weeks. Four years later, they started their own winery, and today, they are considered two of the most talented young winemakers of the Swartland. All of their vineyards are tended organically, some by the farmers who own them, and others leased by the couple.