Women’s Day in South Africa is a reminder of how instrumental women have been over the years in changing the course of our country’s history and traditions. Closing the gender gap in any male-dominated industry is no small feat and breaking ground in SA’s wine fraternity is no exception. But it’s happening. Just last year, American publication Wine Enthusiast with a worldwide readership of 800 000 named a South African Winemaker, Andrea Mullineux, as Winemaker of the Year for the first time ever. Female winemakers in SA are making waves in the winemaking sector, pushing limits and producing fine wines which are causing immense excitement worldwide. To honour these winemakers, Roland Peens and James Pietersen of Wine Cellar fine wine merchants have curated a case of 6 of SA’s finest wines by female vintners.
“It was not difficult to highlight 6 leading South African winemakers for Woman’s month. But it would have been a decade ago!” says Roland Peens, Director of Wine Cellar fine wine merchants, “We have put together what we feel to be SA’s finest wines produced by women winemakers. This ‘One Case Wonder’ will be available throughout the month of August on winecellar.co.za. Here is a great opportunity to discover whether these wines indeed do show the gentle feminine touch”.
Through close relationships with South Africa’s top wine producers, Wine Cellar offers the best allocations of South Africa’s most sought-after wines. Tasting 5 000 fine local and international wines on average per year, Roland and James count among SA’s most refined wine palates and have curated this case to showcase fine wines by female vintners at incredible value.
Here is the Wine Cellar selection of wines in the One Case Wonder, just in time for Women’s Month:
- Andrea Mullineux – Mullineux Syrah 2015
Andrea, named Winemaker of the Year 2016 by Wine Enthusiast, is co-owner and winemaker at Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines, based in the Swartland region at Roundstone Farm. Andrea also has a California brand, Fog Monster Wines and is a member of the Cape Winemaker’s Guild. Since the launch of the brand in 2007, Mullineux, has notched up 18 five-star wine ratings from Platter’s South African Wine Guide as well as being named Winery of the Year in both 2014 and 2016.
The first wine in this ‘One Case Wonder’ is the Mullineux Syrah 2015, a true and complete expression of the shale, schist and granite terroirs in which the vines grow. This perfumed Syrah has notes of spicy citrus rind, refined black fruit, violets and lilies. The palate is elegant and restrained with a silky texture balanced by fresh natural acidity. Supple tannins lend a long smooth finish.
- Samantha O’Keeffe – Lismore Chardonnay 2014
Yet another one-woman pioneer in the winemaking world is Californian native Samantha O’Keefe at boutique Lismore Estate Vineyards, a 232-hectare winery and former dairy farm in Greyton in the Western Cape producing Syrah, a barrel-fermented Sauvignon blanc, Viognier and Chardonnay predominantly for the five-star restaurant and hotel market.
Samantha found that the barren mountain-top shale soils of this remote farm produced exceptional wines, not least the Lismore Syrah, which has gained recognition from Robert Parker in his list of the 50 Best New Releases from 2015, receiving 94 points.
It’s her very special Lismore Chardonnay however which Wine Cellar selected for the ‘One Case Wonder’, made in the style of a traditional Burgundian style. It shows intense citrus and soft fruit layered with honey and vanilla, carried by a distinct minerality and crisp acidity with a lingering citrus finish.
- Nadia Barnard – Waterkloof Circumstance Cape Coral Rose 2017
Nadia, Winemaker at Waterkloof estate nestles almost in the centre of the embrace of the Hottentots-Holland and Helderberg mountains. Nadia is a firm believer in the biodynamic and organic philosophies of Waterkloof. She has been at Waterkloof since the cellar opened its doors in 2009, and, after five years working at Waterkloof as Assistant Winemaker, Nadia truly knows every square inch of vineyard on the farm, excited each day about unlocking the amazing potential that lies within.
The Waterkloof Circumstance Cape Coral Rosé, selected as the only rosé for the case, displays a pale salmon hue with delicate floral aromas and hints of minerality prominent on the nose. The palate is soft with a lingering aftertaste. Traditionally the wine is served chilled on its own, but also marries well with salmon and fresh dishes for that little promise of Spring in the air.
- Rianie Strydom – Strydom Rex Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
Rianie knew since high school that she wanted to make wine. Although the wine industry is male-dominated Rianie says that she has always felt welcomed and respected. Rianie was the first female member in many a year to be invited to join the prestigious Cape Winemakers Guild and is still only one of two in that exclusive club of the country’s finest winemakers.
After 10 years as the winemaker at famous Morgenhof, she took over at HaskellVineyards and Dombeya Wines in the dual role of General Manager and winemaker in 2004. In 2007 the Haskell Pillars Syrah won three trophies at the Tri Nation Challenge against Australia and New Zealand. The trophies were Best Shiraz, Best Red Wine and Best Wine in Show – the first time since the inception of this prestigious competition that a South African wine had won these significant accolades.
This wine under her own label – the Strydom Rex, a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon – is a full-bodied wine with a brooding nose of red and black fruit, pencil shavings, oyster shell and earth. It’s rich and full on the palate with layers of red cherry, cassis, a hint of tobacco and a particularly long finish.
- Trizanne Barnard – TSW Signature Wines Sauvignon blanc 2017
Trizanne went solo with her own brand in 2008 after years of building experience locally at Klein Constantia, launching Anwilka wines and various international vintages. Trizanne’s focus since her own first vintage, has always been on 2 very diverse wine regions; Elim and the Swartland.
Trizanne lives in Kommetjie and makes her wines in Noordhoek. Apart from everything wine- related: making wine, judging on various panels and sampling the finest, she is an avid surfer who draws patience and respect for nature from each aquatic experience.
The grapes for this 100% Sauvignon blanc are sourced from Elim, where prevailing winds provide a cool ripening season. This is a wonderfully fresh, vibrant Sauvignon that celebrates the distinctive saline and white fruits so typically found on Elim fruit; the 2017 is a particularly fine vintage with impressive balance.
- Marelise Niemann – Momento Wines Grenache 2016
Marelise launched Momento wines in 2011, working with vines from all corners of the Western Cape, searching for grape parcels that truly express the region and soil of the vineyard. Her winemaking approach is gentle and ‘hands-off’, respecting the grape and its place, and allowing the wine to express its own character and origin.
The Momento Grenache is a worthy addition to the ‘One Case Wonder’, produced from Swartland and Paardeberg fruit, with minimal handling to express the delicate character of the grapes. A little bit of Carignan adds freshness. Although Grenache as a varietal generally remains outside the limelight, Marelise feels she is at the tip of a potential zeitgeist. Pure, gentle aromas of blossoms and crushed cherry are supported by textured and focussed tannins. It ends wonderfully dry, with great vibrancy.
Did those tasting notes make you wish it was close of play and you were already savouring a glass of SA’s finest in celebration of Women’s Month? To order your ‘One Case Wonder’ exclusively from Wine Cellar at R1 250 in the month of August, visit the Wine Cellar website, http://www.winecellar.co.za/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Delivery is free to any location in South Africa.
Rianie Strydom – Strydom Rex Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
Trizanne Barnard – TSW Signature Wines Sauvignon Blanc 2017
Marelise Niemann – Momento Wines Grenache 2016
Nadia Barnard – Waterkloof Circumstance Cape Coral Rose 2016
Andrea Mullineux – Mullineux Syrah 2015
Samantha O’Keeffe – Lismore Chardonnay 2014
About Wine Cellar
Wine Cellar fine wine merchants was established in 2000. What was primarily a wine storage operation housed in an old candle factory below ground, with a small offering of fine wines from Europe, developed into a leading fine wine importer, traditional wine merchant and, now manages 25 000 cases at any given time, the largest private wine storage facility in South Africa (if not Africa). Through close relationships with South Africa’s top wine producers, Wine Cellar offers the largest allocations of South Africa’s most sought-after wines, often being the first to release to market. Wine Cellar continues to offer fine wines from Europe and specialises in the French regions such as Bordeaux, the Rhone and Burgundy. Wine Cellar offers one of South Africa’s greatest wine lists online, with free delivery (on orders over R1500) throughout South Africa.
To order Wine Cellar Fine Wines, visit http://www.winecellar.co.za/