There’s a bit of magic about wine, believes Kristin Basson, white wine maker for Fleur du Cap, down the line from Stellenbosch. “There’s always a story to tell, and when you see people enjoying your wine and you know all the hard work that went into the bottle, it’s very rewarding.”
Basson knows all about hard work. After completing her oenology degree at Stellenbosch University, she signed up for the international Vintage Master programme that sees student winemakers from across the world spend two years making wine in Europe.
“Working in France, Italy and Spain really contributed to my winemaking philosophy,” says Basson, who went on to work in France’s southern Rhône valley for two years, before returning home.
Although Fleur du Cap doesn’t have its own vineyards to draw from, grapes are sourced from across the Western Cape, and “we try to make every wine expressive of a certain region,” says Basson. For instance, the Fleur du Cap Chardonnay is sourced from producers in and around Robertson, Sauvignon Blanc focuses on cool climate regions including Elgin and Elim, while a single vineyard outside Darling provides grapes for the Sauvignon Blanc in the flagship Unfiltered range.
Made in smaller quantities, often from single vineyards, the Unfiltered wines are matured for longer and naturally stabilised, hence no need for artificial filtering, which also strips flavour. Happily, they’re wines made to be drunk off the shelf, or stashed in the cellar.
“My passion with white wine is to make something people can enjoy now, but will also show potential for ageing. I really think people need the patience to allow white wines to age for seven or eight years to show a completely different character.”
A good example of that is the Unfiltered Chenin Blanc, made from old bush vines near Wellington. “Chenin in South Africa is really taking flight. For years it lacked vision, but we’re now seeing producers showing the real diversity and versatility of the grape.”
The Chenin Blanc is also the ideal white wine for rainy days, says Basson. “White wines that have been in barrel can easily pair with duck, or a rich fish dish. Serve them slightly warmer and they’re perfect for enjoying in winter.”
Enjoy a cellar tour and wine tasting from Monday to Saturday. Booking is essential.
Fleur du Cap
021 809 8025