South Africa

Thistle & Weed

Brandnetel 2022

The 2nd Chenin of the estate, from a single plot in Stellenbosch

The Thistle & Weed estate was born from the collaboration between Stéphanie Wiid and Etienne Terblanche. Stéphanie works in the cellar while Etienne spends more time in the vineyards. Together they set out to discover the best of Cape Town's hidden gems, with the intention of crafting authentic and honest wines, crafted with a deep connection to nature and offering the simplest expression of the terroir from which they are born. from. Stephanie uses the same minimal intervention winemaking approach to produce pure, site-specific wines. Their wines are Afrikaans names for different thistles and weeds (Thistle & Weed) found among the vines grown in Cape Town. Etienne and Steph draw parallels between thistles and weeds and the uncompromising tenacity and survival abilities of old vines.

Here is the 2nd Chenin to join the Thistle and Weed family. The grapes come from a small vineyard of 0.3 ha of 40 year old vines located at the foot of Stellenbosch . The Brandnetel vintage (or nettle in English) takes its name from this tenacious weed but a sign of protection in folklore and vitality for the soil. The vineyard was planted in 1980 and is a living library of historic rootstocks with over 33 different rootstocks in this former experimental plot. The grapes were harvested by hand, delicately pressed in whole bunches and fermented naturally. Only the free-run juice was fermented in 3rd passage French oak barrels. The wine then ages for 9 months in old French oak before being bottled without fining or filtration. This wine reveals notes of quince , white peach , blood orange , pear , apricot , apple , acacia flower and oyster shells . The palate is textured and delicious, with subtle woodiness, refreshing acidity and a mineral finish.

Grape varieties : 100% Chenin Blanc

Alcohol : 13.5%

Guard : 5-10 years

To pair with vegetable tempuras, fish blanquette, pan-fried shellfish, salmon en papillote, chicken with citrus fruits, ideal with a nice cheese platter.

The first vines were planted in South Africa by Dutch settlers in the 1650s, although wine production did not really begin to take off until the arrival of French Protestants, in the 1680s, with their skills and their knowledge of viticulture. Stellenbosch is also a historic wine region, with the first vineyards being planted there in the 1690s.

Today South Africa is one of the most important wine producing countries in the southern hemisphere. With over 300 years of winemaking history, it is often described as a bridge between the Old and New Worlds. The majority of wines are produced using New World winemaking techniques, but they often have more in common stylistically with their Old World counterparts. Since the end of apartheid, South African wine has received international attention and acclaim for its wide variety of styles.

South Africa's wine industry is spread across the lush and rugged landscape of the Western Cape. Here, the abundance of mountains, valleys and plateaus allows winemakers to produce a wide variety of styles. Vineyards can also be found in the Orange River region of the Northern Cape, where the flat, arid landscape is dominated by the Kalahari Desert. Most of South Africa's wine regions have a Mediterranean climate, strongly influenced by the meeting of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

The country's signature grape variety is Pinotage, an indigenous cross of Pinot Noir and Cinsaut that is rarely found in quantity in other wine-producing countries. Shiraz (Syrah) is also widely planted, as are Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot (often combined in a Bordeaux blend). South African Chardonnay, Chenin and Sauvignon Blanc have become popular internationally in recent years.

Coastal Region

The Coastal Region is the largest wine growing region in the Western Cape and the epicenter of the South African wine industry. This region is influenced by both oceans and mountains and there are many micro-climates. The climate is Mediterranean and the influence of the oceans is felt more markedly near the coasts but the interior of the region is warmer.

The sub-region: Stellenbosch

Stellenbosch is perhaps South Africa's most famous wine region. The town, located in the Western Cape coastal region, is steeped in history and home to the country's best-known wineries. Cabernet Sauvignon is the most common grape variety in the region and is often combined with Merlot to create blended wines such as in Bordeaux. Vineyards cover the rolling hills of Stellenbosch, from Helderberg in the south to the lower slopes of Simonsberg Mountain in the north. This terrain allows for a wide variety of wine styles, and among the exposed hills and sheltered valleys there are microclimates suitable for growing all kinds of grape varieties. The region's climate is relatively warm and dry, although a maritime influence comes from False Bay in the south. Cooling southeast breezes flow through the vineyards in the afternoon, cooling the grapes after the heat of the morning sun. White wine varieties are often planted closer to the ocean, where this effect is more pronounced.

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