Gabriëlskloof, the family-owned and run wine and olive estate off the N2 near Bot River, has unveiled a new collection of wines that celebrates their provenance – the unforgettable hills and dales of the majestic Overberg. Called The Landscape Series, the range reflects the essence at the heart of every wine made at Gabriëlskloof.
Myself and a few media-types were invited to try the new wines and experience the seductive signs of Spring in the Overberg that slowly rolled over the canola filled Babylonstoren mountains and the surrounding wheat fields which could panoramic-ally be seen just outside the Chapel windows, our lunch venue du jour.
Greeted by a quirkly “poodle” branded MCC bottle and naturally a glass topped with said bubbles we were welcomed by the lovely
team family behind the farm and the anticipated maiden landscape wine series, just two vintages to be exact. Gabriëlskloof Magdalena & Elodie, the series will eventually encompass five wines. Each wine in the collection would have its own, one-off painting that provides insight to the singular terroir of the wines by painter Neil jonker. Theses wines are named after the two sisters of Bernhard Heyns, founder and owner of Gabriëlskloof.
The dramatic new Landscape Series takes flight with a maiden Chenin Blanc, Elodie 2015 and a fresh take on an existing blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, Magdalena 2015 – the first vintage by winemaker Peter-Allan Finlayson since his arrival at Gabriëlskloof in 2014.
“The Landscape Series was created from a desire to have a range that incorporated the best of our vineyards with some of South Africa’s old vine treasures.The idea was sparked during the team’s search for a unifying theme. “It came to us when artist Neil Jonker exhibited his landscapes paintings in our chapel during December. The South African landscape is breath-taking and unique. Portraying an artistic impression of these scenes on the labels fits in with our vision of making unique, fine South African wines,” adds Finlayson.
A prolific painter and sculptor, Jonker lives in the Overberg hamlet of Baardskeerdersbos and has a thorough understanding of the landscape that inspires his unique perspective. A true artist that paints in nature by paying homage to 19th century artists who painted what the eyes actually saw, or “En Plein”.
These painting were often smaller in size as nature naturally changed, moves and faded in colours and shows a the sunlight shifted. Some painters went as far as to paint on cardboard and later use these cardboard scraps to curate larger paintings. These days many painters simply photograph the landscape and paint from this image.
The wines in the Landscape Series wines are made with the emphasis on a natural approach. Each is crafted with as little intervention as possible as a way of providing the most authentic representation of the vineyards.
“The result is a range of wines with very particular character and interest,” says Winemaker, Finlayson.
“The Magdalena blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc has been made since 2009. While the philosophy of the wine has changed in some ways under The Landscape Series, we kept the name and added the Elodie Chenin Blanc.
The familial connection is another significant pillar of the new range. “Gabriëlskloof is family run, and it’s important to us that this is communicated to everyone enjoying these wines,” says Finlayson, who is married to Heyns’ daughter, Nicolene. “The names are also beautiful which helps,” he adds.
The harvest that produced the wines provided an early forecast of the quality of wines to come. “It was evident from an early stage that 2015 would be one of the classic Cape vintages,” says Finlayson. “A cold and wet 2014 was followed by a dry and moderate growing season, providing the perfect ingredients for this great vintage.”
The cellar door price for the maiden Elodie 2015 and Magdalena 2015 is R234/bottle.
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