I love a conceptual wine. A personal story always draws me in, makes the wine more memorable and gives you a talking point when serving it to guests. These Jonty’s Ducks wines (called Pekin White and Pekin Red) from Avondale in South Africa are a lovely example of what I’m talking about. They’re named after the vineyard’s troop of natural pest controllers — a flock of ducks.
Not only do they have an interesting concept behind them, they also happen to be “Pekin good” wines. Or should that be “ducking great”. Take your pick. Or should that be peck, anyway, here’s what they taste like…
Pekin White 2017
Chenin Blanc, Roussanne, Muscat, Semillon, Viognier… the list of grapes in the Pekin White reads like a French atlas, but its palate drips with South African sunshine. Soft aromas of juicy melon and tropical fruit from the Chenin Blanc dominate here, with a touch of sea salt in the background. On the tongue, tangy lime flavours join in the fun, while its mouthwatering properties give it an almost chewy texture and the Viognier gives is a sutble aromatic touch.
4.5 NINJA STARS
13.5% volume, screw cap. Currently £12.99 from www.houseoftownend.com
Pekin Red 2014
Pouring out a rich, deep plum colour, my first impression is that this tastes like a Cabernet Sauvignon dominated Bordeaux, boosted by an injection of fruity Shiraz. And, sure enough, the three main grapes here are Shiraz (37%), Cabernet Sauvignon (26%), and Merlot (24%), backed up with smaller quantities of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec.
Strong blackcurrant from the Shiraz takes centre stage, alongside secondary aromas of vanilla, licorice, smokey leather, and chocolate from the Cab and Merlot. I also noticed some black pepper emerging after a bit of oxidation. It’s a lovely combination and another hugely enjoyable wine.
4.5 NINJA STARS
14% volume, screw cap. Currently £13.99 from www.houseoftownend.com
Both of these wines are biodynamic, organic and vegan, and Avondale are justifiably keen to display their sustainable, eco-friendly credentials, which they do on a cool tag on the bottles’ necks — made, of course, from what appears to be recycled card. As if you needed any more exuses to try them.