WITH an impressive wine portfolio, the most noble in the Anthonij Rupert Wyne collection is the Cape of Good Hope range, which forms part of South Africa’s Old Vines Initiative.
Made from some of the oldest South African vines, the Cape of Good Hope range comprises terroir-specific wines created in celebration of South Africa’s 350-year-old vinous heritage. The first vintage was launched in 2011, which led to the establishment of the Old Vines Initiative, initiated in 2007 by Johann Rupert.
The Old Vines Initiative is regarded as a valuable contribution to the protection of South African heritage and mirrors the Rupert family’s contributions in the preservation of heritage in other fields such as iconic art and architecture. It is thanks to this effort that the initiative has seen wines produced such as the Cape of Good Hope Groendruif from bush vine Semillon. Originally planted in the Citrusdal mountains in 1950 on the farm now owned by Henk Laing, this stellar wine not only yielded five stars but also Semillon Of The Year at last year’s Platter awards.
The tale of how each vine was located is fascinating in itself considering the very limited written historical record. Johan Nel tells, for example, of one small vine block flourishing in a remote dryland area thanks to roots that burrowed over decades deep into the earth; bush vines the size of trees; and tell-tale vine arrangements planted in the higgledy-piggledy fashion of early farmers. These stories and more will receive special focus in a dedicated website, due for launch later this year.
In addition, grapes for the Cape of Good Hope range are also specifically cultivated from Anthonij Rupert Wyne’s Altima and Riebeeksrivier wine farms. Altima, near Villiersdorp, was bought in 2008. It lies in the Elandskloof, an isolated valley surrounded by a steep mountain range. During winter these mountains are typically covered with snow and the highest vineyards occasionally too. The climate is continental due to the huge diurnal difference in temperature, and is ideal not only for cool climate grape vine development, but also for the cultivation of Black Perigord truffles, initiated in 2009.
Riebeeksrivier, on the slopes of the Kasteelberg, overlooks the Swartland. The farm’s history dates back to the early 1700s, although its first vineyards were only planted in 1972. Old Chenin Blanc vines planted in the late 1980s, and Cinsaut planted in the early to mid 1990s, still produce a good quality crop. The Rupert family acquired the farm in 2007, specifically for the production of high quality Rhône cultivars.
The heritage-inspired range comprises the two latest additions – Riebeeksrivier Chenin Blanc and Riebeeksrivier Syrah – as well as Parel Vallei Merlot, Basson Pinotage, Serruria Chardonnay, Van Lill & Visser Chenin Blanc, Laing Semillon, Altima Sauvignon Blanc, Southern Slopes, Caroline and Sneeuwkrans Pinot Noir.
For more information on this treasury of exceptional wines, click here.