Boisdale Life Magazine (Issue 18) - Flipbook - Page 62
foreign correspondent-turned-winemaker John Platter (of
Platter’s South African Wine Guide) says, “Who doesn’t like
the idea of sipping from the struggles of forlorn old vines, the
more twisted and gnarly the better, stuck in a far-flung
vineyard, that’s defied everything nature and man has thrown
at it for a half-century or more?”
by the Rupert
family in 1969
recently visited several OVP vineyards and would
highly recommend any reader to follow suit. The first
two – DeMorgenzon and Waterford – are among the most
beautiful, visitor-friendly estates in the Cape. They charge
around £4 for tastings and you can swirl and sip their wines
while gazing at the Cape’s wonderful mountains. And among
the many reds and whites they’re producing are old-vine
Chenins Blancs that are beyond reproach.
Carl van der Merwe, DeMorgenzon’s CEO and
cellarmaster, tells me that The Divas – the special cuvée oldvine Chenin – came about almost by accident, after the Wine
Spectator’s then-correspondent Matt Kramer declared the
first vintage (2013) one of the most brilliant white wines he
had ever tasted, and urged van der Merwe to provide samples
for the New York Wine Experience. He did and it won rave
reviews. He has since produced a 2017 vintage, the current
release, which is Platter’s Guide’s Chenin Blanc of the Year.
They’ve only made 2,000 bottles and 800 magnums of the
2017 Divas vintage, so it is worth visiting the DeMorgenzon
Estate for a bottle or two.
Across the valley at Kevin Arnold’s Waterford Estate,
I join a wine tasting with 30 other visitors, led by Arnold
himself. This is probably one of the Cape’s most sophisticated
wine tourism destinations, with lunches and tastings held in
the elegant courtyard of the Italianate winery and four-wheel
drive ‘safaris’ offered to guests in the mountain vineyards.
Arnold established his reputation as a winemaker at
Delheim and Rust en Vrede before he and Jeremy Ord
launched Waterford in 1998. He is now one of the Old Vine
Project’s most outspoken advocates: “I hate the description
‘good value South African wines’ because it sounds like
bargain basement,” he says. “The OVP is an initiative that
has taken the position of upselling our wines. We have a
product and a destination that is world class, and the OVP
is realising its true worth.”
y final stop is in the Swartland. You
need to book a tasting appointment
at The Sadie Family Wines, for
Sadie is arguably the country’s most brilliant
winemaker. His old vine series covers a range
of varietals (Chenin, Cinsault, Grenache,
Tinta Barocca, Semillon, Palomino et al),
which Sadie, a laid-back surfer, describes in
neat turns of phrase: “Cinsault is like your
brother in jail… you can talk about it in the
privacy of your home but not at parties.”
However, his humorous exterior masks a
serious winemaker whose selection of single
vineyard wines from old vine parcels rescued
from extinction justifies the very existence of
the Old Vine Project and proves that these
South African wines are top class.
SIX OF THE BEST
DEMORGENZON THE DIVAS
CHENIN BLANC 2017
One of the finest Chenins in the Cape, if you
can find it. Next vintage 2020.
SADIE FAMILY WINES SOLDAAT 2018
Grenache noir from Piekenierskloof – arguably the
top South Africa Grenache terroir.
DAVID AND NADIA ELPIDIOS 2017
Swartland-sourced, five-varietal Rhône-style red
blend led by Carignan and Shiraz.
LEEU PASSANT DRY RED 2017
A collector’s wine from Chris and Andrea Mullineux.
Carl van der
NAUDÉ OLD VINE CINSAULT 2015
A stunning wine that Ian Naudé rightly describes
as “Young at heart with an old soul”.
JE A N L IG TH A RT / G ET T Y, S C I EN C E P H OTO L I BR A RY
WATERFORD OLD VINE
CHENIN BLANC 2018
Elegant, creamy, beautifully balanced.
From 65-year-old vines.