Welgegund Heritage Wines, nestled at the foot of the magnificent Hawequa mountains in Wellington, are reflecting on a good year which saw their wines honoured with impressive ratings in both Tim Atkin’s 2019 South Africa Special Report as well as Platter’s 2020 Wine Guide.
Welgegund, meaning “well-bestowed”, is undoubtedly graced with abundant blessings. A hidden treasure off the beaten path with a rustic appeal and spectacular mountain backdrop, Welgegund is a place of natural beauty with heritage buildings dating back to the early 1800’s, ancient dryland bush vines and a unique fingerprint of terroir and climate.
To the Welgegund Heritage Wines team, “well-bestowed” took on a new meaning in 2019. “We are overjoyed that the stature of our two 2017 maiden niche cultivar wines – Welgegund Heritage Wines Grenache Noir and Cinsault – was lauded with 90+ ‘outstanding’ ratings by renowned wine critic Tim Atkin – with 93 and 91 points respectively. These quality of these two special releases from low-yielding dryland bush vines was also endorsed by the authoritative Platter’s Wine Guide with 4 stars for the Grenache and 4½ stars for the Cinsault. In addition, the other two wines in our portfolio, also produced from ancient dryland bush vines, our barrel-fermented Chenin Blanc and our Providence, a fruit-driven Rhône-style red blend, also achieved Platter’s 4-star ratings.”
In the vineyard and the cellar: This wine is produced from a high-altitude west-facing dryland bush vine vineyard planted in 2006. 50% of the wine was aged unoaked, to retain fresh fruity aromas, with the balance aged for 14 months in 3rd and 4th-fill French oak barrels.
Winemaker’s tasting notes: Bright and exuberant with light violet hues, the nose displays an abundance of blackberry and raspberry aromas with some subtle floral notes. The palate is soft, lean and refined, showing dark fruit, chocolate and black forest cake with a hint of cloves, powdery well-integrated tannins and a balanced, seductive round finish.
Limited release: Only 1777 (the year Welgegund was established) individually numbered bottles were produced.
Packaging and retail price: The Welgegund Heritage Wines Grenache Noir, adorned with a vivid violet wax seal, is available at the cellar and nationally at specialised wine merchants and restaurants, and retails between R310 and R340 per bottle.
In the vineyard and the cellar: This wine is produced from a 1974 southwest-facing dryland bush vine heritage vineyard with an extremely low yield of 1.2 tons per hectare. A large portion of the wine (80%) was aged unoaked, to retain fresh fruity aromas, with the balance aged for 14 months in 3rd and 4th-fill French oak.
Winemaker’s tasting notes: Clear and bright with fresh purple hues, the nose displays an array of fresh berry aromas: cherries, raspberries, cranberries and strawberries with a hint of spice. The palate is soft, juicy and consistent, showing liquorice and dark fruit flavours with subtle savoury notes, silky tannins and a persistent clean finish. “Our purest expression of Cinsault.”
Limited release: Only 1768 individually numbered bottles were produced.
Packaging and retail price: The Welgegund Heritage Wines Cinsault, adorned with a vivid crimson wax seal, is available at the cellar and nationally at specialised wine merchants and restaurants, and retails between R310 and R340 per bottle.
In the vineyard and the cellar: This wine is produced from 44-year old north-west facing chenin blanc dryland bush vines planted in 1974. Whole cluster bunches were gently pressed. The fermentation was partly natural, with different yeasts added for the desired complexity. 33% of the wine was barrel fermented in French oak and aged independently before final blending. The barrel portion was stirred for lees contact every second week for 4 months and only a portion of the juice underwent malolactic fermentation.
Old Vine Project: The 2017 Welgegund Chenin Blanc, made from vineyards older than 35 years, proudly bears the Old Vine Project Heritage Certification Seal – A World First!
Winemaker’s tasting notes: The low-yielding 2017 vintage provided exceptional fruit, with high concentration, ample finesse and purity. The flavour profile of this wine is beautifully round, fruit-driven and displays subtle oak character. Noticeable fruits include citrus, stone fruits, pineapple and lime and a hint of white blossoms complements the overall aroma. The 2017 vintage has superb maturing potential and is sure to age gracefully.
Retail price: Welgegund Heritage Wines Chenin Blanc 2017 is available at the cellar and nationally at specialised wine merchants and restaurants, and retails at approximately R230 per bottle.
In the vineyards and the cellar: This wine is a Rhône-style blend of 60% shiraz, 30% cinsault and 10% carignan, from the best fruit in selected vineyards – all dryland bush vine, giving concentrated colours and aromas. The vineyards are a collection of mature and vintage vines, including carignan (2003), shiraz (2002) and cinsault (1974). Welgegund was the first farm in South Africa to actively propagate carignan, a southern French grape variety of Spanish origin. All cultivars were fermented separately. Cold soaking was conducted prior to fermentation, extracting colour early, with fermentation in open fermenters, with three punch downs a day. Two rack and returns prior to 16 months in 95% French and 5% American oak. Only 30% new oak was utilized, respecting the fruit and the unique character of each cultivar.
Winemaker’s tasting notes: The shiraz provides tremendous body and structure, adding dark fruit and spice while the cinsault component adds plenty of red fruit, freshness and youth. The carignan contributes to the enjoyable and lengthy end to the wine. This wine is predominantly fruit driven with undertones of subtle oak. Complex dark fruit (mulberry, blackberry and black cherry) as well as some red cranberry fruit notes are complemented by cloves, nutmeg and a hint of pepper. The tannins are soft and extremely silky. Drink now, with further ageing beneficial.
Retail price: Welgegund Heritage Wines Providence 2015 is available at the cellar and nationally at specialised wine merchants and restaurants, and retails at approximately R320 per bottle.
A scenic 50-minute drive from Cape Town, Welgegund is a must for connoisseurs and wine lovers. Wine and olive tastings that showcase the intense deliciousness of this estate’s produce can be enjoyed by appointment only. Take the time and make an appointment. It’s well worth it!