Mama Afrika Nebbiolo 2020
Nebbiolo is not extensively planted throughout South Africa but, when Mpelo tasted some of the rare and unique examples from the Cape, he set out to find the perfect site and the perfect fruit to craft his own. The results are marvellous, and we are very glad he undertook the challenging project! Nebbiolo is near-as fickle a variety as Pinot Noir and requires well-drained soils and lots of sunshine hours to ripen to its best. The former is a matter of site selection, the latter is provided here in abundance, though like Mpelo’s Pinot Noir, tempering the heat here is the challenge. Nebbiolo likes a long growing season to allow those dense tannins to fully ripen, and the slow accumulation of sugars for the grape to develop complexity. When this is provided, the resulting wine can be breathtaking. Here we have lots of sweet and tart red fruits; red cherry, strawberry leaf, cranberry and redcurrant, but a complimentary richness to the palate to balance the tannic structure. The tannins, which are bold, crunchy and sweet, are already approachable, softened by time in small, used oak barriques. There’s clove and woody herb, along with rose water and tea leaf on the finish. Powerfully structured yet at the same time fine and restrained. Delicious and structured now this will age beautifully for another 10 years.