2021 was an excellent vintage in the Western Cape, with whites exhibiting opulent bouquets alongside textbook racy acidities. The Newton Johnson Albariño 2021 was fermented in steel then matured for a total of 8 months in a combination of steel (55%), concrete egg (20%) and old, large oak barrles (25%) with no fining nor filtration before bottling. The resulting wine has a dense base of white peach and quince fruit, and complex leesy character on the nose. More high-toned scents of apple blossom counteract, with mandarin, honeydew melon and apple skin hints on the palate. The waxy texture is buoyed by refreshing acidity, concluding with a pleasing grip of grape tannin from the maturation. Drink to 2025.
Newton Johnson Vineyards is owned and managed by the Newton Johnson family. The farm is based in the upper Hemel en Aarde Valley near the seaside town of Hermanus, an hour and a half’s drive out of Cape Town. This is a popular tourist destination, famous for some of the most spectacular land-based whale watching in the world lush indigenous fynbos, a floral kingdom, home to 1500 species and exclusive to the Cape, mountain walks and bike trails.
The lower slopes of the Newton Johnson farm are undeniably suited to Rhône/Mediterranean grape varieties. Alluvial deposits of large stone fragments up to two metres deep require robust vines to search for nutrients and water.
92 points: Tim Atkin MW, March 2022.