The DAMASCENE founders were united by three passions; the pursuit of excellence, a spirit of discovery, and the desire to preserve nature through sustainable agriculture. Wine entrepreneur David Curl (the former owner of Chateau Gaby in Canon-Fronsac) had begun discussions with winemaker Jean Smit about his involvement in Moya Meaker wines; an Elgin-based winery focussing on premium cool-climate Burgundy cultivars.
But after many long conversations about life, the meaning of quality, and the philosophical search for what wine should be (rather than what it is) they were both convinced that their collaboration would not end there. Within six months, Damascene was conceived; a series of wines that would tell the story, not of their owners, or marketing trends, but of the very vineyards themselves. Damascene wines are about telling stories. They’re born to express the way that man and place collaborate to form narrative. Both vineyard and viticulturist play a role in the story. The winemaker plays the role of editor, and each of our wines tells of their own adventure.
‘Fruit from the Helderberg, Bottelary and Vlottenburg wards combine to deliver supreme balance and intensity. Aromatics of iron filings – electric and lively – bright cassis, rich dark plums, dried herbs (rosemary, bay leaf) and cedar spice all flow into an unashamedly lush palate. Big, fat red cherries, juicy blackcurrants, and the flesh of ripe plums are cocooned by the sensation of crushed velvet. The tannins are complementary in their contrast, firm and muscly, but somehow weightless; a feat achieved through gentle oaking (60 per cent new French barrique for 11 months and then 11 months in 2000-litre conical Austrian oak vats). Striking graphite-toned acidity highlights the impressive fruit intensity, uncoiling black cherries right to the finish. Power and freshness in equal measures.’ – Winemaker
Red and black berries, some leafiness, violets and oak spice on the nose. The palate has real presence without being too forceful – good fruit weight, bright acidity and tannins that are wonderfully powdery. Intense and deep, this is still very youthful and packed away.’ – Christian Eedes, Winemag.co.za, 95/100