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Thorne & Daughters


‘Paper Kite’

Old Vine Sémillon   |   Swartland - South Africa


One of the key heritage varieties in South Africa is Sémillon, a grape variety that the modern wine industry was practically built on, but which now finds itself nearly obsolete. There are still a number of incredible, old Sémillon vineyards and John continues to focus on those sites. ‘Paper Kite’ is his expression of old vine Sémillon, and is sourced from the 56-year-old Kweperfontein vineyard in the Paardeberg. These old clones of Sémillon (including a tiny amount of Semillon Gris dotted about) deliver an expression that is very much at odds with the modern, aromatic clones. There is a pure vinosity to this wine that is difficult to describe but very pleasurable.

Sémillon, especially from these old clone vineyards, has come to epitomize what John wants in his wines. It provides immense texture and depth, with none of the facile primary characteristics seen in modern clones. As with most of the wines…the winemaking is pretty simple. Handpicked, whole bunch basket-pressed direct to old French oak barrels with the lees. Fermentation kicks off naturally with ML following right after. After nine to ten months the wine is racked to tank and bottled without fining or filtration and just a small sulfur addition.


  • Grapes: 95% Sémillon Blanc - 5% Sémillon Gris
  • Vineyard: Kweperfontein Vineyard on the Waterval Farm – farmed by Franziska Wickens
  • Vine Age: 57-years-old
  • Soil Type: Alluvial granitic soil
  • Viticulture: Practicing organic – dry-farmed
  • Fermentation: Native – whole-bunch pressed to old French barrels
  • Skin Contact: None
  • Aging: 9-10 months in neutral French tonneau
  • Alcohol: 12.98%
  • pH: 3.27
  • Total Acidity: 5.6 g/L
  • Total SO2: 76 ppm
  • Total Production: 183 cases
  • UPC: 606110152426

Tasting Note

The wine is rich, textured and complex, with savory aromas of soft dry grass, quince, chestnuts, nougat and nutmet with the subtle pepperiness and jasmine tea quality. The palate shows a saline minerality with flavors of marzipan, persimmon and barley.  The palate is full but a citrus zest component leads to a penetrating and lengthy finish.

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