I was fortunate to be at the launch of this stunning range of wines from Spice Route a couple of years ago. Four to five centuries ago mainly the Portuguese and the Dutch took to the seas with no maps to find the route to the lands of exotic spices.
On the West Coast, the uplands are home to the unirrigated vines, cooled by breezes off the chilly Benguela current, which produce grapes with tiny, thick-skinned berries – ripe fruit that is dense, rich and full-flavoured.
De Bron was the nickname given to the town of Malmesbury before British rule, as ‘Bron’ is the Dutch word for a thermal water spring and the area was known for its healing hot springs and dry air.
Planted in 2001 as a single block of dryland vineyard on Malmesbury shale, on Klein Amoskuil Farm. Interestingly, Klein Amoskuil is home to the oldest Sauvignon Blanc vineyard in South Africa.
Harvested by hand, the grapes for the Spice Route Terra de Bron Swartland Carignan 2014 are taken to the cellar and then hand sorted and fermented for 2 weeks in 2 ton open top fermenters made from French oak and known as Foudres. During the fermentation, there were manual punch downs for the gentle extraction of colour and tannins. Once the alcoholic fermentation was complete, the wine was racked to previous fill 225 litre French oak barrels for the malolactic fermentation and maturation for 19 months. The wine was then bottled and aged for a further year in the bottle before release.
Charl du Plessis, Spice Route’s winemaker, comments “Carignan is my personal favourite grape variety to work with. Not only does it produce a stunning wine, but it also grows very well out in the vineyard, where the vertical growing bush vines make it easy to get the best out of the fruit. Enjoy!” Lucky man to have Licia Solomons as his Assistant Winemaker.
It looks like
Bottled under natural cork closure in a Burgundy shaped bottle with a typically elegant Spice Route livery. In the glass, it is a deep ruby at the core which pales out to garnet at the rim.
It smells like
Red berry and spicy plum aromas.
Medium of body with layer upon layer of generous berries, spiced plums and an undertow of charcuterie. Lovely mouthfeel and just so juice making.
It’s good with
This is an excellent glass on its own, perfect with a platter of charcuterie and cheeses. It likes delicately spiced foods and is a natural for lusty vegetarian dish with tomatoes, aubergines and music. Alida Ryder’s Peri Peri Chicken Livers, is a great partner, for the wine, harking back to Portugal’s Spice Route days. Click here for her recipe.
Listen to my 90 second Radio Today podcast – CLICK HERE
Read more about Spice Route Wines – CLICK HERE