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A flash of Lightning in the Pan

Between 2016 and 2020, a mysterious group of winemakers worked under the cover of night to produce a range of wines that would become know as the Kolab range. The labels were all fairly bland, with very little information either on the label itself, or available online…and yet the wines inside the bottle were downright incredible.
Naturally curiosity was peaked, and wine sleuths set to work trying to uncover the covert geniuses who had been involved. Slowly but surely, one by one, names began emerging…Adam Mason (Raised by Wolves)… Bruwer Raats (Raats Family Wine)… Jean Smith (Damascene)… Chris Alheit (Alheit Family Wines).
The range includes a white blend, a red blend, a Stellenbosch Cabernet, & a Polkadraai Syrah, and provided the chance for established winemakers to experiment with new techniques, or different styles, without being worried that their aura would be tarnished. Then again, if you’ve tasted the wines, then you’d know that that was never going to be a problem.
If you have yet to sign up for your Monthly HanDrinksSolo Wine Subscription then you’ll have to hunt this wine down in your own time. But until then, here are my tasting notes and some technical specs:


👃🏼 This wine is like being at the ORIGINAL woodstock festival, as there are a delightful wafts of “sweet basil”, smoky herbs, and fresh earth in the air, couched in a repeating floral motif. There are also the more primary hints of blackberries, cherries, black olive tapenade, and fresh fennel. All this is pleasantly complicated by hints of tertiary elements savoury dried oak leaves, dried herbs, leather and pot pourri.
👄 The palate is SUPER silky, with the finest of fine tannins, and a really impressive melding of fresh fruit, white pepper spice, and those aforementioned black olive savour notes.


🔬 Wine of Origin Stellenbosch. 100% Syrah from the Karibib Vineyards in the Polkadraai Hills wine ward. The grapes were shipped to a cellar in Elgin where they were fermented in open tanks, using native yeasts only. The resultant wine was matured for 9 months in 2nd and 3rd-fill 225-litre French oak barrels.
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