WORDS: RICHARD HOLMES IMAGES: SUPPLIED
As with terms like joie de vivre, the French so often say it better. You’d need entire paragraphs of English to accurately describe the famous French winemaking term terroir, but at its most succinct it translates simply as a “sense of place”, the interplay of climate, location, topography and geology that define each individual vineyard.
So it’s fitting that the new range of flagship wines from Stellenbosch Hills is named just that, with the Sense of Place portfolio inspired by the origins of each wine.
“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,” says Stellenbosch Hills’ winemaker James Ochse. “They stand out for being Stellenbosch wines, but also quality South African wines.”
Sense of Place launches with a red and a white wine in the portfolio, and with chenin blanc having a moment among local wine-lovers, it’s no surprise that the Kastanjeberg is a wooded chenin blanc. It’s named for the farm on which this single vineyard is situated, on slopes facing the cool breezes of False Bay. It’s a full-bodied chenin blanc, with no shortage of richness and vanilla notes from being fermented with oak staves, but with good freshness on the palate.
“The wine pairs beautifully with crisp pork belly as well as spicy Asian cuisine and cream-based dishes,” suggests Ochse.
The Suikerboschrand red blend pays homage to the broader Stellenbosch winelands, named for the sugarbush protea common on the mountain slopes in the area. Built on a foundation of pinotage this “Cape Blend” is beautifully put together, with spice, structure and ripe fruit thanks to the addition of shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, merlot and a small splash of petit verdot. There’s dark fruit, chocolate and spice all in one appealing package that will work perfectly with hearty late-winter oxtail or seared steak off an early-summer braai.
While these two stunners are well worth discovering, also look out for a new méthode cap classique that should hit the shelves just in time for summer.
Stellenbosch Hills | 021 881 3828 | stellenbosch-hills.co.za