Blackwater Pleasure Garden Palomino, 2016, Robertson, South Africa
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The palomino grape is mostly grown in Spain, where it’s used to make sherry. We’re not sure how a plot of it wound up in South Africa nearly a century ago, but by a happy twist of fate Francois Haasbroek stumbled across a forgotten field of 90-year-old vines and did what he does best: turning humble ingredients (palomino used to have a rep for being bland) into something magical. This is layered, fresh and startling.
Francois Haasbroek is, in our opinion, the man who made Waterford Estate the Stellenbosch legend that it is. But he always had a dream of going it alone. So when he’d finished his shift he’d go searching for under appreciated vineyards, ones whose grapes would disappear into blends, and then he’d stay up until 3am vinifying them. Then he'd head back to work at Waterford the next day.