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Springfield Estate “The Work of Time” 2008, Robertson Valley (Western Cape, South Africa).
The Wines of South Africa's Springfield Estate are unfiltered, unfined, unstabilised. No pumps. No crushers. So how does this 2008 Bordeaux blend stack up? Brilliantly! And I'm not the only one impressed. In the latest edition of the Hugh Johnson Pocket Wine Book, the Springfield wines are lauded: “All ooze class, personality.”
The blend is Cabernet Franc (31%), Merlot (30), Cabernet Sauvignon (25) and Petit Verdot (14). They made their “maiden” vintage in 2001 from specially planted vines that were then nine years old.
This is how they produced the 2008: Grapes fermented whole (according to our ancient custom) and left for five weeks on their skins. A slow 2 years of barrel maturation followed and a further 4 years of bottle maturation. Finally, we released this wine, rich, classic and complex from age - of vines and wine. This long wait, justified only by our passion, does bear fruit. Its called “The Work of Time”.
Three of my Christmas five
In the aromas there is an immediately attractive mix of dark fruits (berries,plums) and the superb first impression is maintained on the palate, a delicious mix of fruit and spice, a fresh and lively personality, really well-balanced fine tannins too and a long finalé. Very Highly Recommended.
Springfield is a fairly common Irish placename. I live in one such and had over the years toyed with the idea of getting my hands on some wines from Springfield Estate. This Christmas (2015) I did something about it and, as you can read, it proved to be something of an eye-opener! (Next year? Well, I notice there is an English sparkling wine called Mayfield!).
In a Cork connection (admittedly a rather roundabout one), the family that run Springfield Estate is the 4th generation of Huguenot refugees that left the Loire (with bundles of vines) in 1688. This particular group headed to South Africa while others made their way to Cork. And there is another Cork connection as Springfield's Jeanette Bruwer visited Cork a few years back and indeed gave a tasting during a class in the Ballymaloe Cookery School.
Thanks to the hard-working brother and sister team of Abrie and Jeanette, and using a combination of sometimes risky winemaking techniques (natural wild yeast for example), traditional methods and modern technology, Springfield produces a wine they are proud to call their own. Made on honour, as the bottle states. “Our honour is our conscience.” We need more producers like this, and not just in wine. An amazing story and you may read more of it here.
In all, I've tasted five of their wines recently including a pair of Sauvignon blanc. “Life from Stone” is one and, as the name suggests, this has a clean minerality about it. The other, “Special Cuvée” is more fruity and floral.
The Whole Berry Cabernet Sauvignon is another gem, intense, juicy and easy-drinking. Didn't make too many notes on these as we had them at the Christmas dinner. The rich creamy Wild Yeast Chardonnay was another that went down well on the day.
This beautifully balanced Bordeaux blend though is the star and Very Highly Recommended as indeed are the remarkable people behind Springfield Estate. The wines are imported by Classic Drinks.