There was a time, just after the Second World War, when the majority of white wine grapes planted were Semillon, or Groendruif as it was known. Franschhoek and Semillon have been partners for a long time. The oldest Semillon bush vines date back to 1905. Some of the oldest bush vines in the valley date back to 1905. Recently a project called GF1, named for the clone of Semillon planted in the valley, asked all the wineries in the Appellation to make a Semillon. The project was launched in 2019 to create local Semillon to showcase the old vines, the diversity of Semillon, the ability to age, traditional wine making from the valley and the terroir of Franschhoek, known for its award-winning wineries.
The project stimulated Takuan von Arnim, Cellarmaster and Tim Hoek Winemaker to make a Semillon of their own. Semillon and Chardonnay share similar natural flavours, while Semillon acidity drops quickly at a higher sugar level. Earlier picking and lower ballings preserve this balanced acidity. This is something in which Haute Cabrière prides itself. The grapes came from a 30-year-old block, and only 480 bottles of the wine of the 2019 vintage were produced. Sadly, while it is a wine which knowledgeable wine drinkers know and love, the average punter does not know it. More’s the pity, now is your chance.
We were on a visit to Haute Cabrière and Takuan was showing us through his wines. This wine had not yet been bottled. Fermentation and time on the lees in amphorae led to a wine which for me, shone from the beginning. The lovely pale gold in the glass, the fabulous aromas of greengage plums, white blossoms, sweet tropical limes and beeswax. The palate is brisk from entry and goes rich round and generous textured in the middle with the lime juice, crunchy Granny Smith apples, granadilla, desiccated and the weight of melon. Rivers tones – like the little round ones we sucked as children, are found in the long, beautifully balanced and very satisfying aftertaste.
A wine like the Haute Collection Amphora Semillon 2019 is a very food friendly wine. Happy with fish off the braai, seafood, roast pork belly with a tart apple sauce, Oriental dishes like sushi, and Nic van Wyk’s toothsome choice of Tapas on a special menu at The Haute Cabrière Restaurant.
Read more about Haute Cabrière, its wines and offerings – CLICK HERE
Wine bought online now will be shipped once the COVID19 ban on alcohol sales is lifted – CLICK HERE