The Platters’ Acclaimed Trailblazer
Gordon Newton Johnson
“It’s been a great journey for us as a family coming into the valley, starting to discover it. We always say that we are learning more and more from the vineyards that we farm. That’s basically the approach we take with our winemaking as well: it’s just to never stop learning.”
Gordon grew up in Stellenbosch (an old boy of Paul Roos Gymnasium) around some of the Cape’s leading edge winemakers as family friends (Dave, his father, is one of the founding Cape Wine Masters) and was immersed in the culture but only followed it closely after university. Having finished an economics degree his more artistic leanings led him to explore wine as a creative medium. Once hooked, he was largely self-taught with sojourns to France, California and New Zealand, before taking over the reins of winemaking at Newton Johnson in the Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley in 1999.
Season after season, farming their own vineyards gave Gordon a holistic understanding of the vineyard site and the means to allow his wines to follow a natural path. Hence he makes his wines with a soft hand, rejecting commercial additives, and in a manner that befits each and every vineyard. Newton Johnson’s success with Gordon as winemaker has seen the longest, unbroken run of five stars for a wine (eight years running) in the Platter’s Wine Guide, and Red Wine of the Year in the 2013 edition. Internationally, they have scored 95 points for their Pinots by writers such as Jamie Goode and Tim Atkin in the UK, and 90+ points in Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate in the USA.
The best quality juice fraction is whole-bunch pressed directly to barrel without prior settling. The fermentation is spontaneous and no sulphur is used in the winemaking, allowing diverse micro-organisms from the grape itself to flourish unrestrained in the fermentation. Matured for 11 months in barrel (40% new) produced in Burgundy and custom made for this vineyard, with a further 5 months élevage in old oak. No fining, coarse filtration or sulphur adjustment was applied before bottling.
Tasting Notes: Elaborate layers of green and ripe lime fruit juxtaposed with white flowers, baking spice, crushed stones and gunflint. The plush and compact texture is prolonged with vitality in the finish.
Ready for drinking now and for the next 10 years.
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