Tired of the same old tipple? Local boutique wines worth seeking out
Tired of the ho-hum mass-market brands that you’ll find on any supermarket shelf from Calvinia to Putsonderwater? These boutique cellars are making smart wines at small volumes, and they’re well worth seeking out:
1. THE GIANT PERIWINKLE
From grapes grown on the windswept Agulhas Plain, winemaker Pierre Rabie – also an advocate at the Cape bar – has grown his winery from a garagiste operation into a fully-fledged producer with its own cellar and vineyards near the hamlet of Baardskeerdersbos.
The Sun Spider Pinotage and Kelp Forest Syrah are particularly worth discovering, but right now it’s the Blanc Fumé – a lightly wooded sauvignon blanc – that’s the flagship, and a fine example of the cool-climate potential of the deep south.
For more information, call 082 465 8350 or visit giantperiwinkle.co.za
2. THISTLE & WEED
Winemaker Stephanie Wiid and viticulturist Etienne Terblanche are the duo behind this cult brand known for seeking out vines that show the same tenacity as the weeds farmers battle in the vineyard.
The star of the show is Duwweltjie, a chenin blanc from a venerable bushvine vineyard in Paarl. With natural yeasts and a long maturation in old oak barrels, it’s a wonderfully expressive example of old-vine chenin blanc.
Brandnetel is its more subtle companion from Stellenbosch vineyards, while the reds – Knapsekêrel and Nastergal – draw on cabernet franc, tempranillo and the unusual alicante bouschet. If you love wine and are looking for new discoveries, start here.
3. SAURWEIN WINES
Jessica Saurwein traces her winemaking heritage back to the 17th century, when her forefathers made “sour wine” for the emperor of Austria. Today, her boutique brand pays tribute to this vinous heritage with a trio of wines crafted from her two favourite cultivars, pinot noir and riesling.
With grapes sourced from Elgin, Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge and the Elandskloof valley near Villiersdorp, there’s a cool-climate thread running through the pair of pinot noirs and a riesling.
Relying on natural yeasts for fermentation, “it’s my aim to achieve energy and harmony simultaneously in the wines”, says Jessica. “The ‘hands-off’ winemaking approach allows me to be guided by the natural balance of the grapes.”
Natural ecosystems play a leading role on the bottle too, with the striking labels by South African artist Isabella Kuijers intended as a promise of what lies beneath each cork.
For more information, call 021 448 4105 or visit winecellar.co.za
This article was originally published in the Sunday Times Neighbourhood: Property and Lifestyle guide. Visit Yourneighbourhood.co.za