"I should have to admit approaching our meeting with Arendsig with a degree of scepticism as Robertson still struggles to command the respect afforded to Stellenbosch and Hermanus but my doubts proved to be totally unfounded as these were some of the most exciting wines that we tasted during our visit. Lourens Van Der Westhuizen's winery may lack the grandeur and, let's be honest, size of some of his peers to the west but this is a property that just screams ‘authenticity’. We had been fortunate to visit some stunningly beautiful wineries over the previous 10 days, many with stylish restaurants and showpiece cellars but this is the reality of winemaking for so many – battling against shortage of space and ferments that won't do as they're told, to create wines of unbelievable class.
All the wines are very site specific with the block no. stated on the label together with the (frequently tiny) number of bottles produced. Neutral vessels are used for maturation such that the character of the vineyard is allowed to shine through and only natural yeasts are used for the fermentation. Elegance and balance are the keywords here, together with length; these are wines that just beg to be drunk.
Wasn't looking forward to this as I find so much Viognier just too intense but this is really lovely. Great minerality, everything is restrained and toned down – beautiful balance and very, very food friendly." - Chris ConnollyArendsig Single Vineyard Wines
High quality toasted wooden staves adds tannin and structure which complements the sweet berry and dark chocolate notes of the merlot. No sulphur was added during the production process.
A blend of 59% Chenin Blanc, 29% Sauvignon Blanc, and 712% Semillon.
The Sauvignon Blanc aromas are prominent on the nose, with beautiful lime and prickly pear notes. Intense flavours, with great balance. A tight mineral core and creamy mid palate from the Chenin Blanc allows for great complexity and a persistent finish. The Sauvignon Blanc lends lovely, fresh acidity to the wine.
The Mourvèdre comes from two windswept, south-facing blocks 270-300m above and a mere 2 miles from The Atlantic. These factors combine to produce low yields, balanced grapes and wines with a true sense of place. Production was just 2 tonnes per hectare in 2020. Mourvèdre is one of the few varietals with enough wind-resistance to plant as bush-vine on Waterkloof. Grapes are hand-harvested and brought to the cellar by horses for hand-sorting. Bunches are sorted and whole-bunch fermentation happens spontaneously with wild yeast in large, open-top wooden fermenters. Manual punch-downs or foot-pressing take place 1-2 times per day and the wine is left on skins for 30 days before going through malolactic fermentation in old 600 litre barrels then ageing for 24 months in the same vessels. No fining, just a light filtration. No additons other than sulphur. Vegan friendly, biodynamic wine. 10 barrels made.
An elegant rendition of this often unruly varietal. Ripe, dark fruit with graphite notes on the nose with wild herb and lifted red berry aromas. Robust and concentrated with the dense yet fine tannins typical of the variety and with a freshness and lightness of touch, thanks to high natural acidity and moderate alcohol.
A single vineyard Pinot Noir from the cool Elgin region near Grabouw. Elegant and light in style, with an abundance of ripe red berries, juicy strawberries and subtle spices on the nose which follow through on the palate where it marries perfectly with a savoury meatiness.
The grapes from the Helderberg region stem from an old vine block dating back to 1974. Aromatic on the nose, yet soft and smooth on the palate. Lightly tinted and medium bodied, this wine greets you on the nose with aromatic floral notes which follow through onto the palate with ripe strawberries, cherries, sweet spices and soft tannins on the mid palate.
NEW RELEASE 92/100 Tim Atkin MW 2017; 4 ½ * – Platter Wine Guide 2018
Single vineyard wine from the Helderberg region with notes of cinnamon and sweet spices. Barrel matured with ripe yet soft tannin.
4 * – John Platter Wine Guide 2017, South Africa; Top 100 SA Wine Awards; 93/100 Robert Parker – Wine Advocate 2017; Top 100 & Double Platinum Awards 2017
Dark garnet with a violet rim. Fresh lifted berry fruit that draws you in! Full yet elegant with bramble aromas and cream, cassis and black cherry flavours on the palate with structure provided by fine tannins with a long rich, ripe finish.
The long wild yeast ferment provides bready aromas and additional complexity to the wine. Dried herbaceous notes, including fennel and aniseed from the nearby Fynbos, dominate the nose, followed by a creamy lemon character. The palate is reminiscent of the nose, with great textural complexity (attributable to the long, slow wild yeast fermentation), and more herbal characters.
The grapes for False Bay Whole Bunch Cinsault Mourvedre stem from bush-vine Cinsault (mostly old vines) in Stellenbosch and The Swartland, along with a small proportion of Mourvedre from Stellenbosch which adds a savoury depth to the wine. Although The Swartland is not as coastal as most of the vineyards used for the False Bay wines, it is an area where, quite frankly, grapes from old vines are available at the required prices. Thankfully, the area's old vines produce naturally low yields and retain good acidity despite being warmer and less windswept than Stellenbosch, so cooler, coastal Atlantic winds are less of a necessity for these gnarly old vines. Made by Waterkloof's talented young Cellarmaster Nadia Barnard. Balanced grapes are hand harvested, whole-bunch pressed and fermented spontaneously with wild yeast in stainless steel and wooden foudre. The wine is left on lees for a minimum of three months before bottling. No additions other than sulphur as a preservative. Grown, made and bottled in South Africa.
Old bush vine Cinsault forms the backbone of this ‘proper’ rosé. A pale, spicy and textural Rosé mostly sourced from bush-vine Cinsault with summer fruits on the palate and a lovely clean, savoury, dry finish.
Wood matured, well-developed structure and textured complexity. This oak-aged Sauvignon boast a nose redolent with dried apricot, subtle oak and minerality. The palate is rich and textured, with a multi-layered structure and great complexity.
The wine shows concentrated marzipan and citrus notes, with underlying hazelnut and lime notes, which adds to layered complexity. The wine is seamless, with flavoursome and long finish.
Beautiful fruit purity of limes and ripe gooseberry, with tropical, floral and fine herbal notes, ruby grapefruit and white pear drop on the finish. This is cool climate Sauvignon Blanc – vibrant, mineral, elegant, balanced and delicate, with a long, layered and complex finish.
The Lady J Syrah is made from Shiraz grapes and is the perfect example of how fruit from two different terroirs can harmonize to create a beautiful wine, showcasing the best of both regions. This appealing Shiraz is an elegant wine with supple fruit and spice balance prompting the name change to Syrah. The grapes were picked by hand, the selected blocks fermented separately and only blended after maturation.
The Shiraz grapes from Simonsberg-Paarl showcase violet and plums, whilst the Elgin grapes bring in a darker character with spicy notes and black pepper. Smooth tannins on the palate confirm the promise of this elegant wine. Velvet textured layers follows through to a juicy mouth-feel.
Distinct notes of minerality, combined beautifully with citrus and lime aromas on the nose are complemented by shortbread and dessert peaches on the palate, ending in a refreshing, lingering and perfectly balanced finish.
Citronella and lemongrass aromatics envelop more subtle primary fruit that include peach skin and naartjie peel. Then also hints of vanilla, baked apple, marzipan and honey. The palate possesses verve and savoury grip, with elements of crushed river pebble, rock salt and flint, but also a grainy, pithy textural element akin to walnut and hard pear. There is real weight and mouth-filling substance, even at 12,5% ABV with complexity gained from lees contact and completely integrated oak. Bone dry, savoury finish.
Dark and concentrated in colour, this wine greets you on the nose with aromas of ripe red fruits, plums and pencil shavings which follow through onto the palate with chewy black cherries, sweet spices and tannins on the mid palate. The wine ends with a lingering umami finish.
A medium bodied wine with a savoury nose and slight cedar characters. Ripe, yet soft tannins complement the aromas of plump dark, red fruit and ripe strawberries with a hint of dark chocolate and cocoa on the nose.
A toasty marmalade, pineapple, lime and honey nougat character on the nose gives way to a fresh acidity on the mid pallet ending, in a long lingering finish, with tropical fruits and charry vanilla.
A fresh wine with a lovely hue, bursting with aromas of ripe guava, pineapple, kiwi, green apple and a hint of strawberry, ending with a well-balanced acidity and a lingering finish.
An untraditional style, where elegance and true character prevail over colour and intensity. Gently compelling with aromas of the earth and stony minerality. The palate includes red fruits, cherries, a hint of spice and creamy refreshing acidity. This is pure, elegant, restrained Cinsault with warm notes of crushed rocks and the regions dry earth.
43% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petit Verdot, 9%Malbec
Blackberries, plum spicy hints and cedar against a cigar box background. The wine is well balanced with mouth filling fruit, elegant oak flavours and silky tannins.
Fernao Pires was planted in South Africa decades ago for production as brandy. Of the last blocks of Fernao left in the Cape this is the oldest at 30-something years old. Originally grown for yield and brandy this Portuguese immigrant certainly found its feet but fell out of favour. Which is where Strange Kompanjie Unlimited come in. "Before we lose ‘em let’s use ‘em." is their philopsophy. All the rock-stars are sniffing around this block now which is good for its future but here is an accessibly-priced expression of the loveliness of the Found before it gets Lost. In Portugal the variety is also known as Maria Gomes, which is strangely sexy in itself. Best drunk in its youth this wine is not for later, it’s definitely Fernao.
A mineral nose of crushed granite, peach kernel and petrichor. On the palate the sandy seam underpins ripe, juicy stonefruit flesh. The wine finishes tight and bright with a clean, lightly floral finish.
On the fecund plateau of Piekenierskloof there exists some extraordinary bush. Dwarfish, seemingly petrified stumps punctuate a high rolling landscape of ryegrass and rooibos. Amongst these are old plantings of Grenache Noir, Chenin Blanc and, here and there, Palomino. Strange Kompanjie has isolated one such block for a teeny release of old vine Palomino, planted in 1977. Fresh and zesty aromas with notes of almond skin, fennel and even a little jasmine. A bright natural acidity on the palate with a teasing top note of grassy fennel, almond nuttiness and the residual salinity of an old dry grown vineyard. Drink slowly to take all this in.
Classic ancient vine Semillon selected from 2 small plots, the oldest planted in 1905. The fruit for the Wildeberg wines comes from the Franschhoek Valley only, hand-harvested, naturally-fermented and gently matured in the mountain barrel hall on the farm. Restrained, delicate aromas with bright citrus fruit offset by savoury, waxy notes. The palate has an impactful attack of taut, stony, highly textural citrus tang and terrific mouthfeel. A subtle, beautifully balanced wine with layers of expression.