Jeremy and Mandy Walker’s home and winery, Grangehurst, is on the slopes of the Helderberg Mountain midway between Stellenbosch and the False Bay coastline with a spectacular view to the west of the Table Mountain Reserve all the way from Cape Point to Signal Hill. To sit there, as I have, on their balcony in the early morning is a unique Cape treat. With a glass of Grangehurst wine in your hand a little later in the day, it is even more so.
Jeremy and his team have specialised in classical, handcrafted red wines since 1992. Grangehurst wines have received significant acclaim including winning the Jan Smuts Trophy in 1992 for the SA Champion Wine for its maiden vintage, two 5-star ratings by Wine Magazine and regular 4 to 4½-star ratings by the John Platter South African Wines Guide, plus one Platter 5 star accolade. They use traditional winemaking methods such as fermentation in open vats, manual punching down of skins for colour and tannin extraction, pressing the grapes in wooden basket presses and maturation of wines in small French and American oak barrels. Up to the vintage of 2004, Jeremy bought in grapes from prime Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage & Merlot vineyards in Stellenbosch. The 2005 vintage saw the start of Grangehurst’s second development phase – the supply of grapes from its own “Sunset Vineyard” which will supply up to 80 tons of Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage, Merlot, Shiraz, Mourvèdre and Petit Verdot within the next few years. Up to a further 60 tons of grapes will continue to be purchased from existing suppliers.
There is a charming tasting room where wines can be tasted and purchased from Monday to Friday and weekends by special arrangement (or take a chance if you are in the area). The quaint Grange Cottage, comfortable and classy, is available should you want a peaceful overnight experience in the winelands.
Grangehurst has four wines in its range. My personal favourite is the Grangehurst Nikela, a Cape Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage & Merlot, the 2000 being the current vintage available – a complex wine with outstanding fruit. “Nikela” is an African word meaning “to offer dedication, respect or a tribute to one’s ancestors” – in this case to winemaker Jeremy Walker’s late parents, Eddie & Betty, who helped to establish Grangehurst Winery in 1992 when Eddie gave up his squash court to enable Jeremy to squash the first grapes at Grangehurst. The name Grangehurst is an amalgamation of The Grange – Betty’s childhood home in Birmingham – and Hurst Close – the street in which Eddie lived as a child in London. Coincidentally, “grange” is a “country house with farm buildings” and “hurst” means “hillock or on a hill” – a very apt description of Grangehurst.
The Grangehurst Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot is a silken textured blend of two of the most important Bordeaux grape varieties, Cabernet Sauvignon (± 80%) and Merlot (± 20%). Jeremy’s Grangehurst Pinotage is barrel matured with a splash of Cabernet Sauvignon and, as with the other wines in the range, leans more towards the European (rather than New World) style.
Says Jeremy, “Grangehurst wines are produced to complement fine cuisine, and besides the standard 750ml packaging are also available in 1,5 litre magnums for those special dining occasions.”
Jeremy is a member of the Cape Winemakers Guild (CWG) and has produced a special, limited release Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve for sale at the annual CWG auction since the 1995 vintage. To date he has also made two special Auction Reserve blends – a Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage & Merlot blend in 1999 and a Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage & Shiraz blend in 2001. The CWG Auction Wines are only available for purchase at the annual October CWG Auction and are not sold from the cellar.
A visit to Grangehurst is a friendly occasion.
Nice way to drink serious wine made by passionate people.
Stellenbosch Winegrowing Region,
on the slopes of the Helderberg Mountains
Winemaker: Jeremy Walker, Member of the Cape Winemakers Guild.
Eikendal Road (off the R44 between Stellenbosch and Somerset West)
PO Box 206, Stellenbosch, 7599, Western Cape, South Africa
Telephone +27 (0)21-855-3625
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.grangehurst.co.za