While many people believe that organic or vegan wines don’t taste as good as conventional wines, Klaas Coetzee, Head Winemaker and Production Manager at Stellar Winery disagrees. “On the contrary, I think the wine is of a much better quality. If your grape quality is poor, you need to add a lot of fining agents to ‘improve’ the wine,” he explains.
He points out that “the fact that the wine is organic does not guarantee sales. I’m constantly attending winemaking seminars and trying to taste a lot of international wines to benchmark our quality. We’re also investing in a high-density planting programme in the cool Koekenaap area to ensure a low crop per vine and excellent quality.”
Stellar Winery is situated at Kys Halte, outside Vredendal in the Western Cape, which borders Namaqualand – the only semi-arid biosphere hotspot in the world. All the estate’s wines are certified organic, gluten-free, vegan-friendly and fair trade according to Fair for Life regulations, and it also produces wines with no added sulphur.
Look out for the award-winning 2017 Woolworths Organic Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz, and Stellar Winery’s 2017 Running Duck Reserve Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon. stellarorganics.co.za
Awarded 94 points in Tim Atkin’s 2017 South African Report, the Reyneke Biodynamic Syrah 2015 (R175) is certified organic. Expect an aromatic, perfumed nose with spicy undertones and layers of red fruit. It has good tannic structure and will hold well for another four years. reynekewines.co.za
The Neil Ellis Jonkershoek Cabernet 2014 (R350) is the estate’s signature Cab and displays the best of the Jonkershoek Valley in Stellenbosch, garnering a joint first (with 92 points) in the 2017 Prescient Cabernet Sauvignon Report. Well-balanced with fine, but dense tannins, this is one to collect. neilellis.com
We’re excited about the resurgence of Chenin Blanc, and a great addition to the fold is the fruit-driven Grande Provence Chenin Blanc 2017 (R90), produced from vineyards in the Stellenbosch and Franschhoek regions. Its delicious freshness is perfectly balanced. grandeprovence.co.za
by Ingrid Wood