FOUR years after first venturing into uncharted waters with his own wine brand Laarman Wines, acclaimed independent winemaker Arco Laarman (pictured above) still personally collects his grapes from Vermaaklikheid, a small town on the Cape South Coast near Witsand, 300 km from Cape Town.
“Driving my beautiful grapes home at 80km p/h reminds me of the day my wife Madeleine and I took our daughter Zaria home from hospital for the first time,” says Laarman, who spent two decades at one of the Cape’s leading wineries (Glen Carlou) before embarking on his own in 2017.
Laarman’s dedication has been well rewarded; under his own label his previous vintages of Cluster and Focal Point collections were met with great acclaim, earning him a Diners Club Winemaker of the Year nomination in 2018. Two of Laarman’s highly anticipated new releases form part of his premium range of terroir-driven wines, the Focal Point Chardonnay and the Focal Point Cinsault, both from the 2019 vintage.
Wine lovers can expect excellence, with the Focal Point Chardonnay 2019 and the Focal Point Cinsault 2019 already both achieving 91 points on Tim Atkin MW’s South Africa Special Report 2021. Furthermore, the Focal Point Cinsault 2019 was recently awarded silver at the 2021 Old Mutual Trophy Show.
“The Focal Point range shines the light on unique vineyards,” says Laarman. “Site-specific wines are clearly rooted in a place and time.” The striking label design reflects the 11 influences Laarman brings together – from varietal to viticulture, topography to fermentation techniques and more – as well as the skill of the winemaker to harness these individual inputs and focus their energies on a single goal.
The 2019 vintage saw Laarman returning to Vermaaklikheid’s unique coastal terroir of cooler-climate, late-ripening limestone soil vineyards to harvest his Focal Point Chardonnay. As a keen foodie who loves to entertain family and friends, Laarman suggests pairing this full-bodied Chardonnay with wholesome baked fish or crisp-skinned roast chicken, or with risotto and mushroom dishes.
Laarman went back to his roots in Paarl for the 2019 harvest of Focal Point Cinsault, a heritage grape variety he views as a South African flag-bearer on the international stage. This supremely elegant Cinsault pairs well with Asian inspired foods that are not too overpowering, such as steamed chicken dim sum and pork spring rolls, and Morrocan influenced foods like lamb kofta and a beef tagine.
Celebrating triumph despite adversity, and with new vintages of different varietals sourced from a variety of vineyards already maturing in bottle, Laarman raises a glass of 2019 Focal Point Chardonnay or Cinsault to future trips to Vermaaklikheid (directly translated as Entertainment!) and beyond.
Laarman Wines recently joined Cape Site Specific as part of a collaboration of like-minded producers who share a common vision of creating wines from specific vineyard sites. These wines are available from selected outlets or the Cape Site Specific online shop. For more information on the wines, stockists and distribution, click here, email [email protected] or call 083 5461 146. Follow Arco Laarman on Twitter @ArcoWine or on Facebook or Instagram @LaarmanWines.
Recommended retail prices:
Focal Point Chardonnay 2019 R295
Focal Point Cinsault 2019 R205