Awesome blog Kim. Love the Rustenburg Five Soldiers. Chardonnay. One of my most favourites, winter or summer. Nicholas v d Merwe Syrah is such a great wine. The Gypsy is just as good. Lovely choice of wines
The thermometer dropped to 14°C in the early hours of this morning, and whilst it isn’t quite cold enough yet to reach for my beanie and gloves, summer is becoming a distant memory and winter is quickly setting in. Soon Chef Anna will be brewing Glühwein to warm the tummies during the chilly winter nights whilst we huddle for warmth around the BOMA fires under the beautiful African sky, but before we get there, let’s focus on some beautifully crafted wines that will go down even better.
Stellenbosch is a town rich in history, dating back to 1679 when then Governor of the Cape, Simon van der Stel, settled in the area. Vines were among the first crops planted in the area and the district boasts just less than 200 wine farms. The terroir is diverse, but in general rainfall is good, the soils are deep and drain well, and the terrain is mountainous. Varieties such as Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz do well here and produce lovely full bodied and well-structured wines such as the ones below.
Rustenberg “Five Soldiers” Chardonnay 2011
Just because the temperature is dropping it doesn’t mean we need to abandon all white wine and grab the most full bodied, ox-blood coloured red wine available. This Chardonnay has been oaked for 15 months on predominantly first fill Burgundian barrels and allowed to naturally undergo malolactic fermentation, resulting in a medium to full bodied wine with ripe apple, melon and peach notes with a long creamy finish.
Nicolas van der Merwe Syrah 2007 & Nicolas van der Merwe “Bordeaux Blend” 2008
In 1999 Nico and his wife made their first vintage of their flagship wine, “Mas Nicolas”, and during August of 2005 the couple found their smallholding Mooi Uitsig (translated from Afrikaans – Beautiful View), called this due to its stunning view from the Cape Hangklip to the Tygerberg hills.
Waterford Estate “The Jem” 2005
Ken Forrester “The Gypsy” 2010
In 1694 Frederick Book planted the first vines at Scholtzenhof. The farm changed hands numerous times since and was purchased in 1993 by the Forrester family who restored the 17th century homestead, replanting the vines and developing quality wines.
The Gypsy is primarily from a very beautiful, unique Grenache Noir vineyard, planted on its own roots, with no graft, way back in 1959. A single vineyard of 5 hectares planted on a 300 ha property with no adjoining vineyards. Literally a tiny postage stamp on a map. Here the wild antelope eat the outer fringes of the leaves in the vineyard, baboons eat the ripening fruit, it is altogether a very difficult remote site on a flat mountain plain 3 hours north of Cape Town in the Tierkloof region near Citrusdal. This fruit is harvested and brought back to Stellenbosch for crushing and fermentation and then matured in old 400 French barrels for a year, the blend is then decided with Syrah and perhaps a drop of Mourvèdre and then the blend goes back into barrels to marry for another year after which the barrels are selected for the final assemblage.
On your travels to Londolozi this winter, you can rest assured that you will be kept warm and cozy with heartwarming food, BOMA fires, hot water bottles, snug blankets, and delicious wine!
Written by Kim Drake – Sommelier
Photographed by Amanda Ritchie – Photography Studio Manager
Thanks for the comments Jill. The history definitely makes the wine more interesting and so much more special.