The Vineyard Party Here be Dragons 2018

First bottled in 2007, so I’m sure you’ve all seen this wine.

Jolette Steyn, the winemaker, is one of the friendliest and most welcoming wine geeks in Cape Town. I first noticed her when she was a winemaker at Steenberg (the place that makes one of my fave go-to Semillons). With an MSc in Oenology and Viti, 15 harvests around the world, and a viticultural thesis on Garnacha in Priorat...I’m always happy to be seated close to her at tastings. So I was excited when I noticed hints at her first solo project floating on instagram...and then really curious about the release of her two Semillons: Here be Dragons 2018  and I’m Your Huckleberry 2018. 

The Wine:

I did NOT expect this deep, vibrant gold colour! There was a burst of honeysuckle as it jettisoned from the Coravin...but these settled into a medium intensity nose of honey, ripe oranges, lime, orange peel, light dried mango, fresh apricot, nutmeg, and some faint flint and yeast.

Dry, medium bodied, lower acidity, and the faint but present tug of low tannins. More ripe watery oranges, tinned pineapples, mangoes, and dried herbs at the tail end of the medium-ish finish.

Vini + Viti:

100% Semillon sourced from an 18 year old vineyard planted on the slopes of the Helderberg in Stellenbosch. The grapes were fermented in 3 different ways:

  • whole bunch pressed with only the juice fermented in old barrels
  • crushed & destemmed in an open top fermenter on their skins
  • whole bunch in open top fermenter with fermentation on skins and stems

All 3 were matured in old oak for 10 months, before being blended into 2 wines. Here be Dragons is 40% skins, and 60% whole bunch fermented.


Balance (1) + Length (½) + Intensity (½) + Complexity (1)  = A good wine 

Drink now, but I'm not sure you'll see much evolution with extensive further ageing.

Final thoughts: 

Jolette is a sweetheart. The label illustrations are rocking. Bonus points for the lighter, more sustainable bottle choice and interesting geeky wine. I'm super chuffed with this purchase...and this has been another useless Coravin attempt.

Find the Wine:

These are quite possibly sold out by now, but keep an eye on as I'm sure they'll be the first to know about any hidden stock and new releases.

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