THE other day we went on a very jolly media junket to Haute Cabrière in Franschhoek to celebrate the wines’ new look packaging and branding.
Full disclosure: the trip back in the bus was extremely merry thanks to the deliciousness of the wine in the bottle we nabbed for the journey – the famous Chardonnay Pinot Noir, which was so flipping moreish – and which we quaffed all the way back to Cape Town despite the driver sternly telling us we were not allowed. Pfft.
Legend has it that 1994 was an unusually dry and warm harvest, and the hand-picking of the grapes could not be done fast enough, which led to a harvest with a higher sugar content. This produced a wine with a higher than usual alcohol content, quite unsuitable to be used for the base wine of their Pierre Jourdan Méthode Cap Classique range, as it would normally have been done.
Founder and then cellar master, Achim von Arnim, decided to bottle this blend as a still wine, which was unheard of at the time. From that day onward, the wine experienced a cult following both locally and internationally.
“We like to think of this wine as South Africa’s original Chardonnay Pinot Noir – African sunshine in a bottle,” says Hildegard von Arnim, family matriarch. The Haute Cabrière range includes an unwooded Pinot Noir and a Pinot Noir Reserve, both excellent.
The title of cellar master now belongs to the firstborn, Takuan, said the rebranding is all about evolution and keeping things fresh and alive. “We are placing more emphasis on both brands. These are two amazing cultivars to produce and have fun with, and we’re taking it to a new level,” he said.
Nic van Wyk, who heads the restaurant at Haute Cabrière, said his almost-three-year journey at the farm has been quite the experience. “Every time we think we’re going to slow down something new and exciting happens and we’re very privileged to be part this great brand and great destination.”
While the branding has changed, the essence of Cabrière remains the same, he added, before telling us there are big plans for this winter including major renovations of the restaurant. “There will be a new look and feel for the food and how we approach it, but we’ll carry on the philosophy that our wines are made to be enjoyed.”
Said Takuan: “Team work and partnership are important, and the bond between us gets stronger and stronger. This whole philosophy and power my father brought in, of a true marriage of food and wine, the expression of it and having fun, is really gelling so well.”
Haute Cabrière Chardonnay Pinot Noir’s iconic status is highlighted with its distinct golden yellow screwcap, which draws on the range’s inspiration from Burgundy. This rich history has led the brand to adopt the Chardonnay Pinot Noir signature yellow as the Haute Cabrière brand colour. Haute Cabrière has worked closely with an experienced design team to refresh the logo and packaging, paying tribute to the past while remaining timeless and elegant. The newly-packaged range is available in retail and from the cellar door at R90 for the Chardonnay Pinot Noir 2018 and the Pinot Noir Unwooded 2018 and at R200 for the Pinot Noir Réserve 2015.
Haute Cabrière’s Restaurant and Tasting Room are on Franschhoek Pass (Lambrechts Road), Franschhoek. Tasting Room hours are Mondays to Saturdays and public holidays 10am till 6pm; Sundays 10am till 4pm. Email [email protected]. The Restaurant offers lunch daily, and dinner Mondays to Saturdays, email [email protected]. All enquires 021 876 8500.