I have known Jan ‘Boland’ Coetzee of Vriesenhof Wines for about 40 years. Deeply serious about his Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, he has spent many vintages in Burgundy with these grapes in the cellars and in the vineyards of that magical part of the world. Known for his resistance to cold, he is often found in what people consider chilly weather, in a T short and a pair of shorts. Now in a new move, all the Vriesenhof Wines have had a makeover and they are looking so cool – same wonderful wines, in spanking new livery.
A very important element of wine is the historical agricultural background. If the grapes feel at home in the land, they can tell the story that the land has written with a clear voice. In the 16th century Olivier des Sevres said, “Terroir is an alliance of soil and a complex network of plants and light.”
This was Jan’s belief when he bought Vriesenhof in December 1980. The farm is situated at the foothills of the Stellenbosch Mountain, where the ever-changing climatic effect of the Atlantic Ocean is evident throughout the year. Cooling marine on shore breezes ameliorating the mid-summer heat in the vineyards and allowing for a longer ripening period, resulting in greater flavours in the grapes.
Jan’s first wine was produced under the majestic oak trees in 1981. When he arrived on Vriesenhof, it was planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsaut and Pinotage. In 1983, he started planting Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. His innovation continued in the mid-1990’s when he added Pinot Noir and in 2009 when he planted Grenache vineyards.
Since 2006, the majority of the farm has been replanted, except for a small vineyard of old bush vine Pinotage at the top of the hill, as you enter the estate. These vineyards represent the wines of the new generation, who follow the philosophy that, “The winemaker is a humble servant of nature. His role is to give nature the opportunity to produce the best possible wine. “
The Vriesenhof Wines range represents excellence through diversity. Each wine is crafted to a specific style by winemaker, Nicky Claasens, to ensure appeal to the broadest spectrum of wine lovers. Tastes may come and go, but a wine of true quality will always be in fashion.
Wine is not only the memory of terroir, but also the expression of place. However, it changes from vintage to vintage – an ever-evolving memory adding not only to the history of place, but also to the relationship between nature and man. Every vintage is a true reflection of the triumphs and struggles of each growing season, but also the excitement of what that vintage can bring.
Vriesenhof Pinot Noir 2015
Mad from a variety of Pinot Noir clones planted on several vineyard sites. Both pump over and punch down method used on different components. Both alcoholic fermentation and malolactic took place in barrel. Matured later for 12 months in Burgundy barrels, of which 10% were new and the balance made up of 2nd fill barrels.
From a Burgundy shaped bottle with a natural cork closure. In the glass, a gem bright gently translucent cherry red which pales out to ruby at the edges. Aromas and flavours are all about red berry fruits, soft dried apricots, dried yellow peaches and forest floor. Long soft.
Do chill it for 30 minutes before serving, the flavours are so enhanced. Used in dishes like Coq au Vin and Beef Bourguignon, it can take hearty flavours. Also, good with seared tuna and Carpaccio.
Vriesenhof Chardonnay 2015
Lovely when a sublime wine like this has a little chance to age and soften. Whole bunch pressed without destemming, the juice settles overnight and is then racked off into tanks. Once the natural fermentation starts, the wine is taken to French oak, Burgundy shaped barrels for complete alcoholic fermentation and then a partial malolactic fermentation. Maturation takes place for 9 months in 30% new and 70% second fill barrels.
From a Burgundy shaped bottle with a natural cork closure. In the glass, it is a golden straw. The aromas fair jump out of the glass. Pears, ripe white fleshed peaches, windfall citrus and slices of Granny Smith apples. Lovely long and very satisfying tail.
Almost anything. Loves a butter roasted organic chicken. Sushi, sashimi. Roast pork belly with crisp crackling. Spaghetti Carbonara – and yes, the Woolworths one is fine for a midweek supper!
For more information on this superb range visit www.vriesenhof.co.za.