Inspired by a gentle giant...

Silverthorn Big Dog – Canis Major
(Cape Winemakers Guild Auction Wine)


Dogs have always formed an integral part of our family and none more so than Roc, our amazing Rottweiler. He was big, boisterous, a total clown, unquestionably loyal and above all the best ‘family friend’ we had ever had. Sadly he died at the age of seven from bone cancer. In honour of Roc I decided to dedicate this very special Cap Classique to him.


I was pleased to see that the ancient astronomers were equally inspired by dogs; Canis Major is a prominent constellation in the southern sky and means 'Big Dog' in Latin. The constellation includes Sirius which is the brightest star in the sky and is known as the 'Dog Star'. The Dog Star is twice the size of the sun.

Since the death of Roc we have a new ‘Big Dog’ by the name of Thena, a beautiful bitch with an equally joyful character and thus the legacy continues.

To date we have released two Cap Classique wines in this range namely Big Dog 2010 and Big dog II 2011. These wines are made exclusively for the Cape Winemakers Guild Auction and are limited to roughly 40 x 6 cases.

Wine making

Both the Chardonnay and the Pinot Noir were picked by hand and then gently whole bunch pressed. The Chardonnay juice was barrel fermented and aged in large old French oak barrels to enhance the creaminess and complexity of the wine and to add palate weight. The Pinot Noir was tank fermented in order to accentuate the bright berry characters. After blending the wine was bottle fermented and aged on the lees for 53 months. After degorging the wine was aged for a further six months on the cork.

Big Dog II 2011 analysis

Alc – 11.5%
RS – 7.2g/l
pH – 3.19
TA – 6.4g/l

Tasting notes

The Chardonnay imparts distinctive citrus and chalky characters while the Pinot Noir contributes strawberry nuances. Having spent 53 months on the lees results in a beautiful brioche and marzipan expression which is further enhance by layers of vanilla from barrel aging.

Suggested food pairings

Salmon gravadlax on crisp rye toast – Parma ham and red figs – Strawberries macerated with black pepper.

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