Grab a taste of the high life

  • Winemaker David Nieuwoudt, left, produces “wines with altitude” At South Africa’s Cederberg Private Cellar

    Winemaker David Nieuwoudt, left, produces “wines with altitude” At South Africa’s Cederberg Private Cellar

I recently wrote about our new investment in South African wine and now I would like to share facts on a few more from Cederberg, DeMorgenzon, the Raat Family and Simonsig.

At Cederberg Private Cellar, winemaker David Nieuwoudt says that he produces “wines with altitude”, as their vineyards are further above sea level than any other in the Western Cape.

The result is a cool Mediterranean climate but, like so much of our planet, climate is changing here.

For many years, Cederberg wines began by picking grapes during mid-February, but recently the farm has often started picking during the last week of January. On the one hand this is in line with the global warming trends evident throughout the international wine industry, but some earlier ripening at Cederberg can also be attributed to their virus-free vines.

The winery comments on their Cederberg 2017 Shiraz, “A complex shiraz filled with intense red fruit, mulberry and cherries on the nose. Fifteen months in oak showing hints of sweet spice and vanilla. Red berries follow through on the palate and finish off with a smooth lingering sensation. A well-crafted shiraz that allows you to cellar the wine for a few years developing into a sensational wine. Pair with South African game, powerful cheeses such as young cheddar or gruyere, or indulge by pairing with intricate dark bitter chocolate.”

One reviewer that I am not familiar with, Platter’s Guide, writes: “So much to love about 2017. Classic New World shiraz flavours of black fruit, smoked meats, coriander and cloves with smoky oak (60 per cent new, 5 per cent American). Supple and silky tannins and fresh acidity keep interest going right through to lengthy finish.” They rated the 2017, 98/100; the 2016, 93/100; the 2017, 95/100. $29.45.

High altitude cabernet vineyards that have a longer ripening period give rise to the Cederberg 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon. Loads of blackcurrants with cedar wood undertones on the nose with a hint of smokiness and tobacco leaf, create a complex wine. It exhibits good integration of oak with a velvety finish on the palate. $29.45.

Cederberg Five Generations 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon is an ultra-premium wine in their range with only 5,200 bottles produced every year. Eighteen months of maturation in new French oak has intensified the rich aromas of blackcurrant and cassis, layered with decadent dark chocolate and cherry tobacco. A velvety texture lingers on the palate with a distinct blackcurrant aftertaste. A ripe tannin structure from the grapes hanging up to 18 days longer in the vineyard, gives this wine the potential to mature for many years to come. $69.

Harvey Nichols sells everything from shoes to wine and writes on their website something that I would like to share: “DeMorgenzon’s DMZ Syrah is a stunner; combining the juiciness of Australia with the peppery, herby, floral, spice-laced style of the Rhône Valley. Always highly rated by Master of Wine Tim Atkin, it’s brimming with pepper, lavender, wildflowers, dried herbs and gingerbread spices, wrapped around a core of blackberries, blackcurrants and plums. Perfectly balancing its rich roundness with depth and elegance, it’s an ideal partner to comfort food, roasted meats, barbecues and mature cheeses.

“It’s no secret that we love DeMorgenzon, they make our own chenin blanc. The name means ‘morning sun’, because it’s the first winery in Stellenbosch to receive the sun each day because of its high altitude and steep slopes. Their vineyards are full of wildflowers, giving the estate the feel of botanic garden rather than a working farm. DeMorgenzon also play baroque and early classical music to their growing vines, as they enjoy it themselves and numerous studies have suggested that it can help fruit production and root growth. Their supertalented winemaker Carl van der Merwe brings bags of experience to the team, including a stint at Château Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. This is a standout winery that does things a little differently.” We sell the 2017 syrah for $27.85.

Critic Jancis Robinson (no relation) writes: “I’m not a huge enthusiast of the sexual stereotyping of wines, but even I can see that cabernet franc might be described as the feminine side of cabernet sauvignon. It is subtly fragrant and gently flirtatious rather than massively muscular and tough in youth.”

It is found in many Bordeaux red blends and does particularly well in St Emilion. We have Raats Family 2017 Cabernet Franc for $34.90 and they put all their winemaking skills into producing wines from this grape as well as chenin blanc. They have received glowing reviews from Decanter, Wine Spectator, Wine Advocate, Wine Enthusiast Magazine and even the Daily Mail and The New York Times. The family describes their 2017 in this way: “The nose entices with its perfume and a garrigue character of Cape fynbos, rosemary, lavender and thyme with spicy notes of nutmeg, cloves and star anise. Intense brooding blackberry fruit, graphite and a streak of minerality add to the complexity of the nose.”

Lastly, I will mention Simonsig Sauvignon Blanc 2017 and here we can see what meticulous attention to site and clonal selection along with optimum canopy management in the vineyard can do for what I believe is Bermuda’s most popular white wine grape. $26.10.

This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. E-mail or 295-0176. Burrows Lightbourn has stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554), Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355) and St George (York Street, 297-0409). Visit<;/i>

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Published Feb 21, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Feb 20, 2020 at 9:47 pm)

Grab a taste of the high life

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