You think you have tasted and seen it all? If you have not been on the Paarl Innovation Journey you might want to reconsider your opinion. In Paarl we have a couple of winemakers that pioneered some changes and firsts in the winemaker world in SA. Spend a day in Paarl and visit these innovative wineries.
Druk-my-Niet wine is a small 24ha boutique winery, with all wines being made in an environmentally friendly way. The winery is situated in a biosphere reserve and sustainable farming methods are the order of the day, with the boutique wines being allowed to ripen at their own pace. Cultivars on the farm include an old Chenin Blanc block planted in 1968, as well as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, Tannat, Tempranillo and Tinta Amarelle. Try their unique T3 wine – a blend of Tempranillo, Tannat and Tinta Amarelle.
For generations the Winemasters at the Nederburg Wines have been mastering the craft of making superior and highly acclaimed wines. It is the story of how one man’s dream and unyielding passion has created a legacy of winemastery in South Africa that has endured for over two centuries. Nederburg launched a series of individually labelled gourmet wines as the Heritage Heroes collection, available exclusively in specialty wine shops and at fine dining restaurants. Each wine has been named after a prominent personality who played a role in shaping Nederburg’s reputation.
One of which is the Motorcycle Marvel, a Rhône-style red that exemplifies the exacting attitude and adventurous personality of the legendary Gȕnter Brӧzel (1956). Gȕnter Brözel became the first in South Africa to win the International Wine & Spirits Competition’s Robert Mondavi Winemaker of the Year Award, bringing the international spotlight to this country. The honour was the result of Nederburg wines winning the highest combined total score on the show. That same year he also won the Diners Club Winemaker of the Year title for the best Gewürztraminer entered.
When Günter Brözel created South Africa’s first noble late harvest wine, Edelkeur, legislation in South Africa didn’t permit the making of natural table wines if their sugar content was above 20 grams per litre. That made it illegal to sell Edelkeur. Fortunately, after successful lobbying of the authorities, the wine could be made available for sale. It debuted at the Nederburg Auction, first held in 1975 as a showcase for this and other select rare wines.
Mellasat Vineyards produced the first commercially available white wine in the world to be made from 100% pinotage grapes. Wine production is small and more expensive than that of the traditional red Pinotage which has become synonymous with South Africa. This is one of those wines that you must try before you die.
Visit the first commercial wine cellar of South Africa, KWV Wine Emporium, for an interesting tour of the 22-hectare property. The Cathedral Cellar which forms part of the tour, boasts five of the largest wine vats in the world. This is also the only venue where the entire range of KWV’s sought-after wines and brandies can be purchased
Having been the first to introduce Viognier in South Africa, Fairview Wine and Cheese, has had opportunities to try interesting styles with this varietal. A Special Late Harvest was also the first to be made using Viognier, the wine really accentuating the fragrance of the grape. Their tasting room has become one of the most popular Cape winelands destinations, building on a reputation that stretches back to the 1970′s, when Cyril and Beryl Back first welcomed guests to the farm.
The winemaking tradition at Landskroon Wines dates back to the 17th century when the French Huguenot settlers first arrived in the Cape. Although known primarily for their Shiraz, the de Villiers family produce an exceptional port and were the first producers to utilise the bottle shape which has become synonymous with South African port.
Rolanie Lotz, winemaker of Rhebokskloof Wine Estate, has turned the familiar Shiraz-Viognier blend on its head to come up with a Viognier-Shiraz blend (98% Viognier and 2% Shiraz) and, unlike most Viogniers, this wine is unwooded. Another first for South Africa and Rhebokskloof was the production of an environmentally friendly treeless label which is made from sugarcane fibres.