When approached a few months back by Vierkoppen to see if we were interested in stocking their wines, there was a hint of trepidation. This is in no small part to the fact that the location of this vineyard in Robertson, South Africa, holds mixed feelings for me.
If we were to rewind 10 years, Robertson was hardly considered as a quality wine growing region, perhaps producing bulk fruit for supermarket type wines, but certainly less so for high quality premium wines. However, times have very much changed, and Robertson is now without doubt one of the world's best kept secrets in terms of quality wine growing regions.
Focussing primarily on Sauvignon Blanc, Pinotage and Cabernet Sauvignon, Vierkoppen is an outstanding producer of top quality South African wine. In the latest edition of Platter a brace of their wines achieved the heady heights of 4.5 stars - no mean achievement when considering many estates take decades to achieve this level of quality and recognition from their wines, and Vierkoppen have done it in just a handful of years.
The Vierkoppen Sauvignon Blanc is a perfect balance between fresh tropical fruits and a refreshing minerality, a wonderful bed fellow to spicy foods or to be enjoyed on a sun soaked veranda. At just £10.99 it also represents fantastic value for money, with many similar style Sauvignons from across the mountains in Stellenbosch coming in at over 30% more in price.
Similar can be said for the two red wines produced, the Vierkoppen Pinotage and Vierkoppen Cabernet Sauvignon. These wines come in at just under £13, but wow what are treat you are getting for your hard earned cash. Both ooze quality with refined tannins and supple mouth feel, followed by layers of textured fruit. All of these wines are handcrafted and produced in only minute quantities, a far cry from the South African bulk wine days of old, whose mantle seems to have been taken up now by the Australians (there are still wonderful boutique vineyards in Oz, but far too many have been eaten up by the commercial breweries and multinational conglomerates).
The South African wine industry in my view, is currently leading much of the world in how it approaches and delivers wonderful wines. Their winemakers, usually from a grounding at Stellenbosch University, embrace the world of wine growing practices from across the globe, along with winemaking skills. Unlike the rigid appellation systems in France, Spain and Italy they are free to experiment, and work with the land, vines and grapes to produce the best possible wine from that terroir.
If you only try one new wine this year, you could not go far wrong with one of these awesome wines from Robertson, which can be found here