Wine Diary: Nederburg Heritage Heroes

When I first tried a glass of wine, many many years ago, one of the first wines that has been ‘memory banked’ was the Nederburg Baronne. This is one of their entry level wines, and as I remember, the first bottle I tasted was ‘pretty good’ – as good as it can be not knowing much about, nor appreciating, wine in any shape or form. As I dabbled in later vintages of the same, I was never really gripped by wine!

Later on, along my journey of discovery of and love for wine, I honestly have never thought too much about Nederburg wine farm and the wines they produce. I think I have had the ‘pretty good’ statement associated to Nederburg wines and as a result never sought them out to sample.

Recently though, I was gifted a bottle of each of the Heritage Heroes range. I hear you mumbling to yourself that I am only writing about them because they were free. There is where you would be very wrong! My wife can testify that poor wine does not get written, instagrammed nor tweeted about. In fact is gets chucked!

I came to learn that the Heritage Heroes collection is in fact a premium collection of limited edition gourmet wines, each with a personality of their own, paying tribute to past wine makers at Nederburg and their contribution to the Nederburg name as one of the top producers of South African wine.

Wine corks in a jar

Now, drinking 5 bottles of wine all on my own would be cause for huge concern, for my wife, not so much myself, and so I had to twist one of my mates rubber arms to bring the family over for a curry and a blind wine tasting of The Heritage Heroes collection. Nope, I didn’t tell them what we were going to taste. Its blind!!!

Table of bottles and wine tasting notes

The Heritage Heroes Blind Wine Tasting

The Young Air Hawk‘ remembers Arnold Graue, the son of Johann Graue, who purchased Nederburg in 1937. Arnold had a reputation for being a skilled winemaker having had training in Europe he furthered this reputation in the Cape during his short career in the 1940/50’s tragically passing in a light aircraft accident at the tender age of 29.

Being a fan of a lightly wooded Chardonnay, I thoroughly enjoyed this slightly ‘heavier than usual’, vivacious 2016 Wooded Sauvignon Blanc.  The fig was very prominent on the nose with mineral notes in the mix, all brilliantly combined on the palette, with the oak bringing it all together with that smooth finish.  One of the first notes sniffed detailed ‘copper’ – I was impressed with Sam on this one!! Not all were sold on the silkier oak’iness but hey, thats what wine is about, finding your vibe!

Winemaker: Natasha Boks

Nederburg Heritage Collection

Wrapped in a cloth, chilled and ready to pour was ‘The Anchorman‘. Celebrates Philippus Wolvaart who established Nederburg farm in 1791 and planted Chenin Blanc. This 2017 vintage blends 85% Chenin Blanc from low yield bush vine in Darling and Wellington and 15% Grenache Blanc sourced from trellised vines in Franschhoek.

A luscious fruit laced nose, picking up the apricot and mineola peel, following through on the palette with good structure and lovely balanced acidity and fruit finish. Very refreshing. One of us picked up some spice and mint notes on this one too!

For me curry is best matched with a stellar Reisling or Gewürztraminer, so I was eager to take ‘The Beautiful Lady‘ for a dance! As with every good man, there is a good woman beside him and this tidy 2016 Gewürztraminer recognises Ilse Graue, the wife of Johann Graue. Ilse was known for her sense of hospitality and planted the rose garden taking centre stage at Nederburg still today.

These grapes were sourced from a single vineyard block on Groenhof farm in Stellenbosch, the same farm used by Günter Brözel to produce his Gewürztraminer entry earning him Diners Club Winemaker of the Year in 1985.

Turkish delight managed to creep in over the prominent litchi and pineapple notes with a subtle sweetness embracing the elegant floral scents on the palette. Loved this one! Brought back electrifying memories of a trip to Greece we were spoilt with, and on the way there we stopped over in Turkey where we bought wacks of Turkish delight! Great memories.

The White Winemaker: Natasha Boks

Red is my favourite colour, in wine anyway!

Bottle of red wine floating in a sea of corks

I really enjoy a well put together Bordeaux-blend, so it stands to reason that this was a good start to the blind tasting of reds. ‘The Brew Master‘ marks the contributions of Johann Graue, a brew master and tea specialist, to Nederburg. Aquiring Nederburg in 1937 his experimentation and development of new winemaking techniques revolutionised the industry at the time. His focus on discovering the top performing wines at Nederburg set the bar high for the future of winemaking on the farm.

This 2015 vintage blends 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Petit Verdot, 6% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Malbec. The bouquet of tobacco and cigar box was wonderfully meshed with dark fruits and very sublte hints of vanilla on the soft tannin finish. Such a treat!

On 13 May last year, turns out this mate of mine here doing the blind wine tasting with me, sends me a picture of a wine he has just had. Now this was many ‘wine instagrams’ ago, and for a wine to make such an impression so as to compel him to send me a pic……it had to have been good. Turns out, it was ‘The Motorcycle Marvel‘ 2013 vintage. This evening we were tasting the 2015 vintage.

Bottle of Nederburg Motorcycle Marvel red wine

My favorite of them all, this Rhône-style blend of 32% Carignan, 31% Shiraz, 14% Grenache, 15% Cinsaut, 10% Mouvedre salutes Günter Brözel, the legendary winemaker and cellar master from 1956 to 1989, who thrust Nederburg into the ranks of one of the leading award winning wineries in South Africa. Known for his exceptionally high standards, he frequently rode out on his 250cc motorcycle to check on the vineyards and make sure everything was in order!

This was beautifully interesting. So full bodied, the nose hinted at ripe dark berries and spice, while the full mouth feel ignited wood and spice, pulling everything together, and leaving a long spice finish with very light tannins. Someone also picked up hints of mint on this one! We evaporated this one!!

The Red Winemaker : Samuel Viljoen

I fancy looking at and appreciate a well designed wine label. Subjective I know…but for me it makes an impression. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it cannot, must not be boring. If its boring, then thats the first impression, and you know what they say about first impressions, they last…

The Heirtage Heroes collection wine labels are distinctive, and deliver a glimpse into an aspect of each of the individuals characters celebrated by these fine wines. All in all this was an amazing tour of The Heritage Heroes collection of gourmet wines, a tribute to past winemakers and current winemakers too! Well done to Natasha and Samuel.

Cheers…

 

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