South Africa

Thistle & Weed

Springoring 2022

Old vines planted in 1982 in Swartland

The domain Thistle & Weed 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 grape vines grown in Cape Town. Etienne and Steph draw parallels between thistles and weeds and the uncompromising tenacity and survival abilities of old vines.

Springdoring (Cenchrus incertus) is a plant that roots quickly and is difficult to uproot. But it's not as tough and persistent as those Chenin Blanc vines grown in the Swartland, where survival is paramount. This vineyard planted in 1982 is nestled in the Joubertskloof, on the Paardeberg mountain , the emblem of the Swartland . The vines grow on pure granite soils and sheltered from the hot afternoon sun (east facing). The grapes were delicately whole-cluster pressed and fermented naturally in old French oak barrels where only the free-run juice was used. The lees are stirred (battonage) for the first month then the wine is aged for 10 months before bottling, without filtration. This wine reveals aromas of lemon , grapefruit peel , pineapple , spring flowers , golden apple , yellow peach , tangerine , quince and smoked rock . The palate shows deliciousness and texture with a saline tension and a finish of noble bitterness.

Grape varieties : 100% Chenin Blanc

Alcohol : 13.5%

Guard : 5-10 years

To be enjoyed with a pork terrine with pepper, a tartare with a knife, veal paupiettes with peppers or even gnocchi with tomatoes and basil.

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.

Main Region: Western Cape

It is by far the best known and most emblematic geographical area of ​​South Africa. It is home to the prestigious regions of Stellenbosch, Paarl and Cape Town can be considered the epicenter of the wine region; the climate is essentially Mediterranean. The Western Cape region is crossed by spectacular mountain ranges which are particularly important for viticulture because they form particularly interesting microclimates for varietal diversity.

The sub-region: The Swartland

Traditionally a cereal-producing region, Swartland, whose name means "Black Land" in Dutch, has become in around fifteen years one of the most emblematic wine-growing regions in South Africa. The topography of the region is very varied and vineyards can be found on mountainsides or on the rolling hills that dot the region. The climate is warm Mediterranean with oceanic influences as we get closer to the Atlantic coast. The warm climate greatly reduces the incidence of disease. The rainfall is 400 mm per year but the region includes many plots of old, non-irrigated vines with very low yields. The floors are mainly composed of slates. There are also pockets of granite particularly around the Paardeberg mountain. Most vineyards are goblet pruned, a pruning which provides strong resistance to heat and drought. The main grape varieties of the region are Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Chenin Blanc.

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