Elected to South Africa’s prestigious Cape Winemaker’s Guild in 2012, Miles Mossop, lead winemaker at Tokara, makes small batch wines at his own boutique, eponymous winery. Miles’ first releases of his white blend Saskia and red blend Max occurred in 2004. The wines are of very high quality but produced in very limited quantities—a total of just one thousand cases per year. All his vineyards are dry-farmed and very low yielding (4-6 t/ha). We review his latest releases below. His wines are imported by Knauth & Visser, Branford CT.
Miles is the son of another Cape Winemaker, Tony Mossop, and graduated from Stellenbosch University in Enology in 1998. He has worked with some of South Africa’s world famous winemakers—Gyles Webb and Eben Sadie—and has also made wine in Australia (Knappstein), the Napa Valley (Far Niente), Condrieu, and Sicily (Planeta). In 2000 he was appointed chief winemaker at Tokara.
Miles Mossop 2010 Saskia Coastal Region ($35) 92 A superb Chenin Blanc based white blend revealing a floral perfume and a tender mouth feel. It’s complex in aromas—buttered toast, stone fruit and nuts—and intensely flavored with an interesting wet straw note. A beautifully integrated wine that offers an uplifting, fresh note on the palate. Beautifully done! A blend of 71% Chenin Blanc, 24% Viognier, and 5% Clairette Blanche sourced from a 33 year old, unirrigated vineyard. The Chenin Blanc is harvested in two pickings, an early one for freshness and minerality and a later one to capture ripeness and a light botrytis note. Fermented naturally in 400 l barrels (17% new) and matured sur lie for ten months with regular battonage. Miles Mossop 2008 Max Stellenbosch ($35) 91 Max is a very expressive and fragrant wine, offering savory, forest floor and sweet, high-toned, violet notes that are mirrored in terms of flavor. It’s nicely weighted with a rich, earthy palate, finishing with chalky tannins and a note of French oak vanilla bean. A blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Petit Verdot, and 23% Merlot with the Petit Verdot influence especially pronounced. Fermentation is done with indigenous yeasts in small open wood fermenters. Matured for 22 months in 225 l French barriques, 38% new. Miles Mossop 2012 Kika Stellenbosch ($35) We don’t rate this wine as it had just been bottled and needed time to settle down at the time of tasting. However, we gave the 2007 Kika 92 points in our Report 30 The Wines of South Africa. Kika is a noble late harvest made from 100% Chenin Blanc harvested in three pickings. The botrytised grapes are high in sugar (43 brix) and take three weeks to complete fermentation. The 2007 vintage of Kika showed rich, creamy stone fruit with bright botrytis notes.
Mike Potashnik and Don Winkler