I've been following the adventures of Mphumi at Magna Carta Wines for a long time.
I’d beg my friends to come with me to one of their Sunday afternoon urban rooftop sessions. I marvelled at this banker turned winemaker’s adventures in the vineyards and the cellars. I wished I was as cool as him.
Medium garnet with THE prettiest nose that I could not stop sniffing. Rose petals and jasmine flowers that are flirting with musky desiccation. Tart red berries, stewed ripe strawberries, bright rhubarb, dark cherry, a little raisin and cooked green peppers, pomegranate. Salty sand dunes covered in dried kelp, undeniable barnyard (as in the entire menagerie), a little charcuterie, mushrooms, teriyaki, soy, miso, stock powder, kombu (yup, I’m also craving Japanese right now). And all that umami travels on a firm base of subtle sweet spice - cardamom, slight white pepper, maybe some clove.
Dry, medium bodied, high acidity, smooth ‘tea with a good dollop of milk’ like tannins that are more a suggestion...or inherent understanding, rather than a jarring texture in your mouth. Juicy, bright red fruits with a musk-candy depth. A salinity that introduces the umami to the palate and adds sustained depth to the fruits. And a medium+ finish that’s really pleasing in the way it starts at the rich sweetness of stewed fruits and ends in the salty soil...like digging through the dune to find a bed of clay soil.
Viti & Vini:
This is an unusual blend of equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. Unusual again in that it's a non vintage - the Pinot Noir is a 2015 vintage, and the Cabernet Sauvignon is 2018. It's a masterful blend where "the Cab adds body and depth to the Pinot, without losing its inherent freshness and brightness".
Mphumeledi Ndlangisa makes wines without the aid of chemical or mechanical intervention...no destemmers or pumps or filters. Picture foot stomping. How romantic is that? He also uses little or no sulphur in his wines. How admirable is that?
Balance (1) + Length (1) + Intensity (1) + Complexity (1) = An outstanding wine in my opinion.
Drink now, but potential for a little further ageing. The longterm ageability of a natural wine made without sulphur, is something that the winemaker brought up. I'll definitely be investing in a few more bottles and, if I can practise some restraint, be thinking about this in the back of my mind.
The wine brand is named after the Magna Carta Libertatum which was signed in 1215. The Magna Carta charter is one of the most important documents in the history of civil rights. A document that freed slaves from the Feudal system. With Magna Carta wines, the grapes are given freedom that allows them to express their true nature by not intervening in the way natural wine makes itself.
Called The GOAT (greatest of all time), the illustration on the bottle label is beautifully minimalist, in stark contrast to the intricacy of the blend contained inside the bottle. "In African culture, slaughtering a goat is the only way to show thanks and to request their guidance in our daily toils".
These crazy notes that list everything under the sun seem to happen when I truly fall for a wine. This one has me hook, line and sinker. They're not easy to find, with 70% of the wines being exported, but they are worth the hunt.
A day after posting this wine to instagram, Mphumi saw the review and responded with the most humble reply. It moved me. I think it's safe to say that I still wish I was as talented and brave and lekker as this winemaker.
Tasted on a Root Day according to the Biodynamic Calendar for the Southern Hemisphere.
Find the Wine:
I picked up my wines from www.woodstockliquors.co.za who are one of few places to stock these wines. Their service was phenomenal.