This is our virtual wine cellar, where we keep – for posterity – our older vintages, for cross reference with current ones.
And, of course, to boast (just a bit)!
a.k.a GeelSlang – Unapologetically individual, independently minded, a dapper ruffian with a heart of gold and deserving the moniker, Vagabond. This fifth vintage sees a radical departure towards the future, with Chardonnay forming the spine around which the aromatic rogue Rhone Viognier, combines with old bush vine Steen, exotic Verdelho & a blast from the past in the rare Hungarian Hárslevelü- fully skin fermented as one would a red. Hand crafted old skool, barrel fermented& matured in old oak barrels. Generously fulsome, yet zesty, elegant & complex this vintage makes an ideal foil for mild Cantonese and Cape Malay cuisine; soft fromage or grilled duck breasts with citrus salad. Friends affectionately call this wine the GeelSlang, Afrikaans for the resplendently golden yellow Cape Cobra, a beguiling beautiful reptile with a vicious strike.
*Track Record: 2014 – 4 Stars Platter’s 2016 / 91 pt Winemag / Top 12 Cape White Blend
Now – 2025+
93 pts Tim Atkin MW SA Report 2016
Steen, the vernacular used by the wizened farmers & winemakers for Chenin Blanc, is a true Cape heirloom variety purportedly planted in 1655 and a versatile vine which has served as the cornerstone of the wine industry at the tip of Africa for centuries.
HoekSteen, originates from low yield old bush vine plots in Stellenbosch grown in poor ferricrete rich soils, hand harvested, long cold fermentation, matured sur lie for 12 months and bottled unfined, unfiltered to preserve the essence of site. This Steen with its heady floral aromatics, citrus, yellow fruit spectrum of flavours, chalky finish and lifted acidity is an ideal candidate for careful cellaring or decanting in its youth. Pair HoekSteen with roast fowl, fresh crustaceans & other denizens of the deep, firm fromage or simply serve as an aperitif while watching the setting sun.
Now – 2024
91 pts Tim Atkin MW SA Report 2016
Carving a niche high up amongst the precipitous, otherwise uninhabitable and fynbos covered craggy peaks of the Cape mountain ranges, Klipspringers thrive. Similarly, Chenin Blanc has adapted to prosper in the diverse, harsh climatic conditions and ancient weathered soils of the Cape & particularly the Swartland.
This Swartland Steen originates from old bush vines atop the Paardeberg, deeply rooted in weathered granitic soils & venerable 40 year old vines rooted in the schist rich soils in the leeward shadow of Kasteelberg; whole bunch pressed; partially naturally fermented; sur lie matured for a year and bottled unfined, unfiltered to preserve its origin, vintage & flavour. A Sunday roast chicken with all the trimmings, fresh crustaceans and seafood, braised pork belly, simply sip on its own or allow cellaring to showcase the complexity of bottle matured Steen.
Now – 2025
93 pts Tim Atkin MW SA Report 2016
All the while possessing its own distinctive call, the Bokmakierie can also mimic those calls of other birds in its habitat. Sauvignon blanc’s inherently distinctive “call” can be altered by the terroir and vinification.
Hand harvested fruit from high altitude cool climate vines grown in the upper reaches of the Outeniqua mountains, barrel fermented & matured sur lie in old French oak, with regular bâtonnage and bottled unfined, unfiltered. Buxom, layered and a complex wine, which is a tad off-centre and rewarding of cellaring. Enjoy as an aperitif, but rather accompany with lemon butter sole; ceviche; generous portions of grilled calamari; mussels in parsley, Fumé Blanc & cream or other fellow fresh denizens of the deep.
Now – 2022+
93 pts Tim Atkin MW SA Report 2016
Preconception hinders the enjoyment of discovery. This suitably cryptic mantra serves as guide, crafting an unpretentiously serious, thoughtfully enjoyable, unconventionally approachable wine, unexpectedly purposefully called, KatVis*.
This third vintage combines three different clones of Pinot Noir: 777 from sandstone over clay along the Palmiet River in Grabouw; 115 rooted in Bokkeveld shale soils of cool climate Elgin; 115 wedged into the shale soils of the continental climes of the Tradouw; and finally old vine BK5 grown on calcareous rich red alluvials of the Karoo. Fermented in traditional lagars with a portion of whole bunches, matured 9 months in old 300ℓ French hogsheads, prior to blending and bottling unfined, unfiltered. Cellar if you can & enjoy accompanied by duck, beef fillet, braised lamb shoulder, hearty vegetarian fare, a pulled pork sandwich or slightly chilled as an aperitif.
*Named after the truly resilient catfish – a most unexpected fish.
Now – 2025
89 pts Tim Atkin MW SA Report 2016
Monotony stifles progress. In general the Cape’s climatic conditions are far more suited to the tending of Mediterranean and Portuguese varieties – due to their inherent delight of trying conditions & penchant for the sun. Though wild, these vines offer the vigneron opportunities to craft truly unique wines of unbridled gusto, elegance & extraordinary longevity.
Crafted from a trio of extraordinarily rare, low yielding old vine Portuguese varietals, fermented in traditional lagars, matured in older 300ℓ French oak for 24 months & bottled unfined, unfiltered. Complex combination of red and black hedgerow fruits, fynbos, zesty cranberry, spicy savoury undertones & powdery tannins make for a generous fulsome wine deserving of accompaniment by rustic country fare, good company & much cheer. Decant in youth or cellar to experience its full potential in the decade to come.
Now – 2030
TOP 10 at the CAPPA Challenge 2015
Syrah or Shiraz is a varietal which has equally vexed and coaxed us into crafting a single varietal wine.
This maiden Syrah was crafted from vines wedged in among shale rich soils in near perfect continental climatic conditions surrounded by orchards & vineyards which we’ve been tempted by for 7 years. Hand harvested early in the morning, traditionally vinified in lagar (an open top cement fermenter), matured in 300ℓ hogsheads for 10 months & bottled unfined, unfiltered.
Multi-layered, slowly unfurling its complexities with an unmistakable underlying Syrah fulsomeness, deserving of accompaniment by rustic country fare, good company & much cheer. Decant in youth or cellar to experience its full potential in the decade to come.
Si solo la pizarra podía hablar… – If only the shales could speak…
*The vine on the label is either Pais or Carignan planted in black volcanic soils outside Chillán Chile, by a friends grandfather when he was six years old with his father and grandfather. He is now 90 years old and for the past 25 years has been crafting a red and white wine in his garage from these vines. His passion of the vine, his farm, animals and family are a constant inspiration to us.
Now – 2030+
91 pts Christian Eedes winemag.co.za
Crafted from ridiculously rare Touriga Franca vines, combined with Portugal’s premier grape Touriga Nacional & a splash of Shiraz – this maiden vintage of RED offers another avenue for our vinous exploration.
An inclement & troublesome 2014 resulted in an opportunity to craft aromatic, elegant wines from the usually bold ‘n brash Touriga’s ‘n Shiraz. Hand harvested early in the morning, traditionally vinified in lagar (an open top cement fermenter), matured in large old French oak barrels for 24 months & bottled unfined, unfiltered.
Aromatic & generous while being light footed with savoury backing making for an ideal partner to rustic country cuisine or hearty vegetarian fare & best shared with fine folk with much cheer. Best decanted & cellaring is advised if you possess the patience.
“The more things change, the more they stay the same…”
**The photo on the label is that of an old gnarled anchor post at the start of an almost 4 km long old stone kraal wall – built many moons ago to protect sheep and cattle from the likes of leopard, jackal & caracal – en route to Laingsburg via Seweweekspoort atop the Swartberg. This anchor post and wall were only revealed after a devastating veld fire – neither the first nor the last which these structures will survive.
Now – 2022+
Flights of fancy, once off, slightly off-center and ultra limited quantity wines (of the past).
Traditional barrel fermented & tempered blanc denoir or vin grisfrom Touriga Nacional, ideal for enjoying with a good dinner & fine soft cheese, only 240 bottles in 2015.
Good ‘n proper pink wine from Pinotage, barrel fermented, fulsomely fruited pink wine ideal for when a red wine won’t do & a white’s not quite right. It’s pink, but you can drink it bro! Only 240 bottles in 2015.
Cool climate naturally fermented Sauvignon blanc crafted like a red wine – i.e. fermented in an open top fermenter with a portion of skins added for good measure – matured in French oak & meant to accompany fine rustic fare, softfromage or denizens of the deep. It’s Sauvignon, but not as you think you know it! Only 333 bottles in 2015.
Second vintage of this odd black fleshed Portuguese varietal much prized for its dark colour, bright acidity & buxom fruit flavours in crafting fortifieds, but which can create a damn tasty table wine ideal for enjoying with proper pizza & tomato based pastas, a few lamb chops on the braai or a selection of charcuterie &fromage with a baguette or two. Only 255 bottles in 2015.