The Liberator

28.09.18 | The Team

By Kaye Turton

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Richard Kelley, master of wine and the man behind ‘The Liberator’ project.

You may be wondering what ‘The Liberator’ project is.

Well, let me tell you…

Richard Kelley specialises in sourcing and commercialising fine wines from South Africa and France. While he points out he’s not a winemaker, the solid relationships he has formed in these countries has allowed him to bring to life his own range of wine. This known as The Liberator.

Mr Kelley is often in South Africa, not only on business but also visiting friends and during his time there he can’t resist visiting the many vineyards this fantastic place has to offer. During these visits, Richard often finds himself walking into the cellars to find these wine makers have something they don’t know what to do with, not because it’s bad but because it’s experimental or different. He decided to ‘liberate’ these wines, encouraging these prestigious winemakers to allow those unusual batches to be bottled. Some may say liberating them from cellar oblivion.

When I met Richard Kelley, those months ago, he brought with him  a tank sample. A cloudy liquid in a non descript bottle, unlabelled. This interesting sample, Richard had sourced from Villiera wines, a 180 hectare estate established in 1983, owned and run by the Grier family. This wine was created using very floral grape varieties:

43% Muscat (Muscat Ottonel and Morio Muscat), 33% Riesling, 24% Gewurztraminer.

Trying the wine it expressed a truly aromatic, close-to-dry, easy drinking style.

As you can imagine it was a liberation we couldn’t miss out on and we asked Richard if we could be a part in this new venture. The tank sample was filtered and released to us.

One thing we just couldn’t agree on was the label. Then we remembered how mysterious it looked when Richard Kelley revealed this non-descript bottle, unlabelled to us.

We decided to keep it that way…

Un-labbeled, Edition 1, thus, came to be.

Take a look at The Black Swan Oldstead’s wine list here.