WORDS: RICHARD HOLMES IMAGES: SUPPLIED
The new range – dubbed the Haute Collection – consists of a trio of wines from the 2017 vintage: a barrel-fermented chardonnay with a component fermented in clay amphora, a pinot noir, and a 100% amphora chardonnay. With chardonnay’s popularity on the rise, the addition of two still chardonnays to the estate’s line-up is sure to be welcomed.
The new range was no happy accident though. Rather than stumbling upon standout batches in the cellar, cellar master Takuan von Arnim says he and winemaker Tim Hoek “are always actively looking for particular blocks on the farm that have heritage and character. The chardonnay, for instance, was the first vineyard to be planted on the farm, in 1983. It gives such amazing fruit.”
The Haute Collection Chardonnay is a blend of wines matured in both oak barrels and 450 litre clay amphorae. The result? An elegant “chard” with subtle oak richness on the palate. A different offering altogether is the Haute Collection Amphora Chardonnay. Here citrus freshness and bright minerality shows just why these clay vessels are making a comeback in the winelands. Using neutral amphorae to ferment wines from specific sites, “shows the purest expression of terroir”, says Takuan.
As with the historic chardonnay vineyard, the block chosen for the Haute Collection Pinot Noir is also remarkable. Situated higher up on the farm, on the slopes of the Middagkrans Mountain, the vineyard was planted more than 20 years ago by founder Achim von Arnim.
With 10,000 vines per hectare, high by local standards, “the focus is on terroir and concentration and competition between the vines”, says Takuan. “Unless you put vines into a tight spot they don’t give you their best.”
Alongside the new Haute Collection, the cellar has – just in time for summer – also released a brand-new rosé-style wine from pinot noir.
With more structure than the cellar’s ever-popular chardonnay-pinot noir blend, “the new rosé fits into the Haute Cabrière range beautifully”, says Takuan. “It’s a perfect stepping stone into pinot noir, and really closes the circle of the wines we create.”
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