The annual Juliet Cullinan Standard Bank Wine Festival took place this week on Tuesday and Wednesday and was once again a great source for people looking to find unusual estates and boutique wines to add to their collection. These are four of the estates that were at the event and blew us away.
One of the smallest wine estates in Stellenbosch, Lovane has only 2.5 hectares of grapes, which were planted on virgin soil in 2003. Just 16 years later the wines being produced are all excellent with the Family Reserve Shiraz, and Bordeaux blend Isikhati of particular mention.
Made up of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot, the Isikhati is a Cab forward blend with a velvety mouth feel and well-structured tannins that lead into flavours of plum and cherries.
The Shiraz is a dark red wine that delivers on the spicy attributes of the varietal without being heavy-handed. It’s a wine rich in blackberries on the nose and a subtle raspberry flavour lingering in the aftertaste with hints of clove and pepper.
Lured in by the eccentric, charismatic and honest patter of Holden Manz owner Gerard Holden we were quickly enchanted by the estate’s Chenin Blanc and Syrah Reserve, but it was the flagship Big G that really gave us goosebumps. It’s a wine of many layers and would take a few bottles to really get to grips with, but on the initial tastings, it was rich with plums and blackcurrants, perfectly balanced with a warm, rounded, slightly sweet woodiness and hints of pine needles. A complex wine, with impressive staying power, The Big G was an absolute delight from beginning to end.
At the other end of the wine tasting scale was the Chenin Blanc, which delivers beautiful strong aromas of pear on the nose and follows that up with hints of peach laced with a suggestion of oak barrel on the tongue. It’s a delicate, light wine that one immediately imagines drinking in a park, under the sun.
Gerard Holden and Migo Manz bought the Franschhoek estate, then known as Klein Genot, in August 2010, and are already making a mark and defining a new era for the property. Well worth looking out for.
Mont Blois Wynlandgoed
While the previous two estates have new owners, and ideas, Mont Blois’ Ernst Bruwer is the sixth in his line to own the Robertson valley farm that was first bought back in 1869. Despite this, there is new winemaking blood in the family in the form of Ernst’s wife Nina-Mari who is a Cape Wine Master.
The estate has a rare offering in that it makes two separate Chardonnays, both of which are exceptional. The Kweekkamp is made from grapes grown in limestone-rich soil and is a smooth, creamy wine that packs a series of fresh mandarin and lemon flavours.
Meanwhile, The Hoog & Laarg Chardonnay comes from grapes grown in a rich, red clay and delivers a slightly sharper, green apple flavour that nonetheless lingers on the tongue.
Not to be outdone by the whites, the estate’s red blend, Bacchus, is rich in cherries and tobacco with a delicate chocolatey aftertaste that blends well with the balanced oak.
Established in 1777, with a manor house that dates back to 1820 and is on the register of Provincial heritage sites, Welgegund has a long and storied history as a fruit farm once owned by Cecil John Rhodes. The current owners Gavin and Kelly Brimacombe have only been in residence since 2014 and since then have overseen a complete refurbishment and overhaul of the estate that nonetheless takes maximum advantage of the unique terroir and well-established bush vines dating back to the 1970s.
These old vines of Chenin blanc, Cinsault and Carignan have been used to great effect in creating a range of delicately refined wines spearheaded by the red blend Providence. 60% Shiraz, 30% Cinsault and 10% Carignan, Providence offers a wealth of darker berries with cloves and nutmeg lingering on the tongue. The slightest hint of pepper rounds off the flavour.
Also of note is the Welgegund Chenin Blanc , which offers flavours of peach, and pineapple, with hints of lemon and lime all pulled together with gentle oak.