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Thorne & Daughters


‘Rocking Horse’

Cape White Blend   |   Western Cape - South Africa


Rocking Horse is the cornerstone wine blend and takes its name from a wooden rocking horse that John and Tasha made for their daughters out of old oak barrel staves. It is the perfect example of wholeness and totality in a wine. The wine is composed from a number of carefully selected vineyard sites in the Western Cape. Roussanne is the primary component and comes from the granitic hills of the Helderberg in Stellenbosch. Nearly equal parts of Chenin Blanc and Sémillon come from the Paardeberg hill of Swartland and Franschhoek respectively. Finishing up the blend are an equal splash of old vine Clairette Blanche from a hill in Stellenbosch and Chardonnay from the cooler Faure region of Stellenbosch.

2018 was warm and dry with very little disease pressure. The drought that started in the 2016 growing season continued but the older vines, fastidious farming and excellent sites allowed for very healthy grapes. The grapes were handpicked and fermented separately without inoculation in barrel. A bit of skin contact was employed on the Sémillon and Clairette for intensity of flavor and aroma and all the ferments were on full solids. After nine months the wines are racked to a blending tank to settle where they are bottled with a small addition of sulfur.


  • Grapes: 25% Roussanne – 22% Sémillon Blanc – 19% Chardonnay – 18% Clairette Blanche – 16% Chenin Blanc
  • Vineyard: Various Single Sites: Chardonnay, Clairette, Roussanne (Stellenbosch) - Sémillon Blanc (Franschhoek) - Chenin Blanc, Roussanne (Swartland)
  • Vine Age: Chardonnay (16-years) - Chenin Blanc (39-years) - Clairette (36-years) - Roussanne (11-years & 17-years) - Sémillon Blanc (35-years)
  • Soil Type: Decomposed Granite (Stellenbosch & Swartland) - Alluvial (Franschhoek)
  • Viticulture: Practicing Organic
  • Fermentation: Native – neutral 225L & 500L French barrels (destemmed & skin fermented - Clairette & Sémillon – whole-bunch pressed - Chardonnay, Roussanne, Chenin Blanc)
  • Skin Contact: 3 days (Clairette & Sémillon)
  • Aging: 10 months in neutral French barrique
  • pH: 3.24
  • Total Acidity: 5.86 g/L
  • Total SO2: 55 ppm
  • Total Production: 1,000 cases

Tasting Note

Rich straw yellow. The nose are utterly complex and expressive, brimming with notes of leesy lemon biscuits, white citrus, dried baking herbs, hay and dried tangerine peel. On the palate, the textural intricacy is notable as you would expect from a wine with nearly a quarter-Roussanne in the blend, which lends extra dimensions of fleshy white stone fruit and marzipan depth. This showcases the classical crystalline purity of the vintage framed by a tart lemon lime acidity and a stony, liquid mineral granitic complexity. Beautifully sensual and pristinely balance, every mouthful stimulates the senses with crisp white peaches, crunchy green pears, granny smith apples, bay leaf herbal notes and yet more green mango and saline twang on the long exhilarating finish.

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