South Africa

Damascene is a seriously exciting new find for us in South Africa. Their maiden vintage here was 2018 and we were blown away by the results. 2019, their second vintage was sold out on release, read the press release HERE.

The highly acclaimed Jean Smit, previously winemaker at Boekenhoutskloof, has teamed up with David Curl, former owner of Bordeaux’s Chateau Gaby.

Their goal is to explore all across the South African winelands in search of exceptional sites. Sites that deliver an important moment of insight, and hence the name of the project. A Damascene moment of clarity, where we can all understand the greatness of these small, prized plots.

The vineyards are old and well established but small, so each of these brilliant wines is only released in very small quantities. We urge you to catch them while you can.

Damascene, located in Elgin, is punching above its weight class and swinging for the fences. (…) I haven't been this excited over a new producer from South Africa as I currently am with Damascene. With a smattering of wines from Stellenbosch, Swartland, Franschhoek and Cederberg, there's not a bad wine in the bunch. For me, the Chenin Blancs and the Syrahs stole my heart. Anthony Mueller, The Wine Advocate  (Dec 2023)

Damascene has almost appeared out of nowhere in the last couple of years. I met with head winemaker Jean Smit in London in June and then visited the estate for the first time during my trip. Fruit is sourced from various major wards, including Swartland, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch, and their policy is to use 1,000 and 2,000-liter oval Austrian foudres for aging. Moya Meaker Wines comes from the Elgin estate itself, on Bokkeveld shale soils, where there is greater use of French barriques with higher percentages of new oak, though nothing over 50%. Readers can find more information about the background in last year’s report by searching the producer profile attached to my tasting notes. Smit is certainly a driven winemaker who knows what he’s doing, and comparing recent releases with a few older bottles to “fill in the gaps”, the quality of wines is improving year by year. Neal Martin, www.vinous.com  (Nov 2023)

One of the most exciting producers to emerge from the already very exciting South African wine scene in the last few years is Damascene. Jamie Goode, www.wineanorak.com  (Sep 2023)

Damascene is proving to be one of the most exciting new wine projects in the last while. The upcoming new releases are hugely impressive. www.winemag.co.za  (Oct 2020)