It was a chilly winter’s day in Bot River when four of the wine route’s prized winemakers – Peter-Allen Finlayson (Crystallum and Gabrielskloof), Marelise Niemann (Momento), Donovan Ackermann (winemaker at Gabriëlskloof) and John Seccombe (Thorne & Daughters) gathered to discuss, share and celebrate their new vintages. The short yet successful harvest, and increasingly dryer season, worked to create a new range of wines that each could be proud of, despite any of nature’s setbacks.
The venue was Gabriëlskloof, chic and intentionally arid so as not to detract from its natural surroundings. Wine writers joined wine traders to welcome in the year’s new bottles – wines that reflect the complexity, richness, and diversity of the region’s unique terroir. The four winemakers, each as different as the next, have one thing in common: a philosophy to create wines that are crafted with as little intervention as possible, providing the most authentic portrayal of the vineyards. The result is a range of premier wines with very particular character and interest. Furthermore, there is joined effort among the winemakers to do this in the most environmentally friendly way, showing respect for the region’s biodiversity.
Under cellar master Peter-Allen Finlayson and head winemaker Donovan Ackermann, Gabriëlskloof has unveiled three red wines to form part of its Landscape Series, a collection of superlative wines that are the very essence of their vineyards and winemaking philosophy. Peter-Allen also released a preview of new bottles under his own label, Crystallum – a small, family-run and privately owned winery based in the Walker Bay region. ‘We seek to produce classic wines in a contemporary context that reflect a traditional, age-old way of working, coupled with the new world vineyards from which we source our fruit,’ says Peter-Allan along with brother and co-founder Andrew Finlayson.