More and more wine consumers are wanting to know about their wines, where they come from, what happens to them in the cellar. Their recently released limited-edition Sense of Place wines promise rare insight into some of South Africa’s finest terroir in Stellenbosch. This flagship collection, the oak matured Kastanjeberg Chenin Blanc 2017, and the Cape Blend, Suikerboschrand 2015 will soon be joined by a Méthode Cap Classique.
James Ochse, the Stellenbosch Hills Wine Maker, says “We’re very excited about this range because it gives us the opportunity to shine a light on the very nucleus of our vineyard quality. And we’re excited to be able to release these wines in particular. While both are made from vineyards that consistently produce quality fruit, they comprise grape varieties grounded in South African heritage. They stand out for being Stellenbosch wines, and also quality South African wines,” he says. It is in these wines that Sense of Place is where the winemaker’s art truly comes to the fore.
I must start by saying how beautifully this wine is packaged. The bottles are very heavy, this one in the shape of a Burgundy or Loire Wine. The label is an illustration of a Cape Wild Chestnut (Calodendrum capense), known as Kastanjes which flourished in the Cape in the early 19th Century. The natural cork closure is covered with black wax. I think the material they have used is a good one as it cuts very easy and comes away form the cork easily, with no little shards of wax. In the glass, it is a pale golden straw, gem bright. The aromas and tastes slide from one into the other. From entry, there is a crisp fruit acidity which runs through to the aftertaste which is long and gently waning. Stone fruit, such as white fleshed peaches, Turkish soft dried apricots, fynbos honey and poached quince run through the creamy and generous mid-palate. Lovely undertow of marzipan and the oak with its concomitant spice and vanilla. As a food wine it is superb. Perfect with Oriental dishes, scallops of veal in a Madeira sauce and of course a fine organic butter roasted chicken with rusty roasties and real gravy. I am all for real gravy.
The Kastanjeberg 2017 sells for around R285.00
This wine is name for the Sugarbush Suikerbos Protea, Protea Repens. Part of the almost two millions hectares of a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site. The wine is termed a Cape Blend, which requires a high percentage of Pinotage, which makes up 33% in this wine of this South African created red wine grape. The other components are 29% Shiraz, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot and 10% Petit Verdot. These three grapes were individually vinified, and barrel matured before blending and preparation for bottling.
Again, a beautiful livery. The bottle, which is Bordeaux shaped, has the word Stellenbosch embossed in the glass, and is closed with natural cork and the same wax coating at the Kastanjeberg. This, for me, is a superb wine on every level. A child of the vintage thus far predicted as the finest this century. It is a bright fruited fruit with cassis and wild strawberries on the nose and palate. The oak, its sweet brown spices, vanilla, and cigar box is carefully applied so that it supports the fabulous fruit rather than tries to be an equal partner of overpower it. Cashmere clad tannins, the rich and round mid- palate is generous and the wine in all its harmony ends on a long and gently waning aftertaste. A great glass.
As a food companion, meat is the obvious choice, though I think it should be grilled, roasted or braaied so that the wine can contend with the lovely caramel edges of the meat. It would be a great partner to a lusty vegetarian main course with aubergine, mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes, oven baked with cheese [provided it is set with animal rennet].
It would be the most perfect bottle of wine for after dinner with some snaps of dark chocolate, preferably 65% or under.
The Suikerboschrand 2015 sells for around R385.00
The design for both of these labels is by the well-known and much admired Haumann Smal Design Studio in Stellenbosch.
The wines are available from the Winery, its website and from selected wine stores.
For more information about Stellenbosch Hills, visit www.stellenbosch-hills.co.za
Call 021 881 3828/9
Stellenbosch Hills is located at the intersection of the R310 and Vlottenburg Road, just outside Stellenbosch. It is open Monday to Friday, 09h00 – 17h00; and, Saturdays: 10h00 – 15h00; and, closed on public holidays.
Based on information from Random Hat PR & Communications