Thorne & Daughters Rocking Horse Cape White 2019


Handled oxidatively and aged in older wood, it’s complex and savoury with peach, greengage and citrus fruit and some phenolic grip. 2021-25 95/100 Tim Atkin MW

This wine is deep gold in colour having been exposed to oxygen at the beginning of the winemaking process. On the nose, it reveals aromas of yellow plum, kumquat, brioche and bay leaf, with saline undertones. The palate is broad and supple and finishes with a clean line of acidity. John Seccombe

‘Rocking Horse is our cornerstone wine and takes its name from a wooden rocking horse that we made for our daughters out of old oak barrel staves. This is our signature wine and it is where all our work comes together to make our most complete wine. The wine is composed from a number of carefully selected vineyard sites in the Western Cape. ‘ John Seccombe

Roussanne – 36% Stellenbosch / Paardeberg – 11 years old – decomposed granite / clay
Semillon blanc – 25% Franschhoek – 36 years old – alluvial soils
Chenin blanc – 22% Paardeberg 38 years old – decomposed granite
Chardonnay – 11% Stellenbosch 16 years old – decomposed granite
Clairette blanche – 6% Stellenbosch 36 years old – decomposed granite


The grapes for the Rocking Horse were sourced from a number of very carefully selected growers around the Western Cape. The Roussanne and the Chardonnay come from younger trellised vines, with an average age of 14 years planted in Stellenbosch and Paardeberg mountain on a combination of clay and decomposed granite. Semillon Blanc from Franschhoek, Clairette Blanche from Stellenbosch and Chenin Blanc from Paardeberg add depth and textural complexity to this Cape white blend as they are sourced from old, low-yielding bush vines estimated to be approximately 40 years old.


The 2019 vintage, like 2018, was characterised by warm and dry conditions with the Cape drought still very much in force. The challenge was to pick the grapes early enough to retain good levels of natural acidity combined with sufficient fruit ripeness. John and Tasha monitored the ripeness levels of the grapes assiduously in the run up to harvest to ensure that they were picked at the perfect moment. Picking for the grapes for the ‘Rocking Horse’ began on 23rd January with the Paardeberg Chenin Blanc and finished on 12th February with the Roussanne from Stellenbosch.


The grapes were whole bunch pressed in an old Vaslin press, which ensures an oxidative pressing and yields a very clear juice. The juice was left to settle overnight then racked off the heavy solids and transferred to old French oak barrels ranging in size from 225 litres to 600 litres. Fermentation occurred naturally in barrel and the wines were then allowed to undergo spontaneous malolactic fermentation. Sulphur dioxide was first added in August following the vintage when the wines had had time to settle. The Rocking Horse spent 10 months on its fine lees after fermentation, prior to blending and bottling.

Alcohol – 13%
Residual sugar – 2.26 g/L
Total acidity – 5.73 g/L
pH 3.34


3 in stock