If you have eaten with us at Restaurant Nathan Outlaw within the last few years, there is a good chance we may have offered you a glass of phenomenal wine from the BLANKbottle Winery and, due to the tiny volumes and his approach to wine making, there is an even better chance that whichever wine that was (The White Bomb or Im Hinterhofkabuff), it is no longer available, with a high probability it will never to be seen again.
The Winery is located at the end of a dusty ‘dirt’ road in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Pieter Walser is the wine-maker behind this very creative, energetic operation. He is certainly not your typical wine-maker. Instead of owning a vineyard and making the same wine from the same grapes, he picks 35 different varietals from 65 different vineyards, travelling 13000 kms during the harvest season. The intention is to have the freedom to produce different wines every year. His approach to wine-making is artistic and about as Artisan as they come. Even the labels are his own drawings/designs.
Pieter’s passion and energy is infectious. The first time we met him and tasted his wines was in 2014, when we visited Stellenbosch in January. At the time he operated from a small, rustic room full of French oak barrels stacked ceiling high, a vaslin press, a table, some chairs, and glassware to taste his incredible range of wines.
On yet another visit to the winery, we tasted his recent creation ‘Rabbitsfoot’ which is made from grapes grown at a decent altitude. The Vineyard is leased by a friend of Pieters who produces sweet wine. The grapes are picked later than usual to make the sweet wine, which in turn also entices a troop of baboons to eat the sweet grapes. Pieter agreed to lease the first rows of vine. By picking his grapes earlier than his friend, Pieter helps to create a buffer for the rest of the vineyard, and the baboons are no longer enticed. A win-win situation for all, except the baboons.
The Rabbitsfoot 2017 is the most opulent, complex, weighty Sauvignon Blanc I have ever tasted. The length on the wine is superb. The texture, acidity and slightly saline minerality makes this wine a wonderful partner to the richness of our something like our oyster chowder, balanced by the salinity of the local Porthilly oysters. Pieter made 900 bottles of this most unusual, yet sensational Sauvignon Blanc, and we are honoured to be pouring it, along with tasting it frequently, of course.
Damon Little – Restaurant Nathan Outlaw