V5 Smiley — Chenin Blanc
A Wine That
defies all odds, making you wonder whether you need to reevaluate everything you thought you knew about wine. A wine that is made from so many different styles and batches that the result is exactly like an artist's palette after they've completed a scenic landscape; colours overlapping one another, creating colours of their own. It tastes like this too; a glorious jumble of flavours. Fresh sea air mist lands on the tongue together with honey, tangerines and praline.
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- Delivery: Delivery and gift wrapping options available at checkout.
- Winemaker: Silwervis
Where and How?
The latest white Smiley wine, this comes from 14 different batches of wine from 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. The wine was made from fruit sourced from multiple parcels on the granitic Paardeberg terroirs of the Swartland, some hot and some cool sites.
All of the wines were fermented with natural yeasts with absolutely nothing added, both in barrels and in stainless steel. After fermentation, Ryan and Samantha tasted the wines and made decisions for ageing inspired by the wines of the Jura, Jerez and Maderia. This means some batches were aged under a surface yeast - a flor - for biological ageing, and others were placed in the sun for Madeira style ageing. One portion was also aged on the skins for up to fourteen days.
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.