Yardstick, Western Cape

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PETER TEMPELHOFF and ADAM MASON

Yardstick is a collaboration between Mulderbosch winemaker, Adam Mason, McGrath Collection chef, Peter Tempelhoff and Charles Banks, known to many for his previous association with Screaming Eagle.

The project encompasses two different ranges. The Yardstick wines are based on the classic Burgundy varieties of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, whilst the Marvelous (correct spelling) which are a different proposition. All three wines are multi-varietal and represent excellent value.

Yardstick

The 2013 Chardonnay is sourced from vineyards in Piekenierskloof, Elgin and the 900 metre high Agter-Witzenberg, which although technically in Tulbagh, the vineyards have to be accessed via the town of Ceres. It’s a three way split, with each component equating to a two tonne batch of fruit. Knowing the source of the Piekenierskloof grapes, I instantly recognise the tangerine/citrus element that comes from the orange grove that once occupied this site…!

The 2013 Pinot Noir is sourced from three cooler plots on the coffee-stone soils of Elgin, with a further parcel of grapes coming from the same Agter-Witzenberg vineyard in the mountains above Tulbagh. The resulting wine is produced partly through carbonic maceration methods in open-top tanks. The malolactic fermentation occurs in barrel where it rests, without racking, for ten months.

Marvelous

The Marvelous Yellow positions itself as a pioneering (and very clever) blend of Chenin, Clairette, Viognier and Semillon, with a small, but identifiable, addition of some Muscat Ottonel and Muscat de Frontignan. Air-dried on racks at Lammershoek for seven days, I can only assume this was a technique adapted by Adam from his time working as winemaker at Klein Constantia. It’s an individual wine, and perhaps ahead of the game when it comes to identifying a small but growing trend towards dry, aromatic white wines. Could this be the fashion successor to the popularity of Sauvignon Blanc, perhaps…?

The Marvelous Red is based on (Mulderbosch) Syrah and (Darling) Cinsaut, with a seasoning of (Piekenierskloof) Grenache and Mourvèdre, plus a little (Mulderbosch) Viognier. The Cinsault component adds greatly to the aromatics of the wine, whilst retaining an elegance and freshness. It reminds me of the hoppy, grapefruit qualities of some European wheat beers. Bizarre. Another wine that might prove to be ahead of the game; if not ahead of its time.

The Marvelous Blue is in deference to the wines of Aquitaine and includes all five of the classic Bordeaux varieties, with fruit sourced from Elgin and Darling as well as off the farm at Mulderbosch.

Adam states “I love the journey between the primary agricultural product and the final article. In my chosen profession it happens to be following the grape from the vineyard to the bottle, but Marvelous allows the chance to follow food from the garden to the table.”

Website : yardstickwines.com

Marvelous Yellow 2014 (Cape White Blend) pack shot fiche
Marvelous Yellow 2013 (Cape White Blend) pack shot fiche
Marvelous Red 2013 (Rhône Blend) pack shot fiche
Marvelous Blue 2013 (Bordeaux Blend) pack shot fiche
Yardstick Chardonnay 2013 pack shot fiche
Yardstick Pinot Noir 2013 pack shot fiche