Babylons Peak Chenin Blanc is made from 100 percent Chenin Blanc.
Babylon's Peak winery, situated on the highest weathered granite slopes of the Paardeberg Mountain, is privately owned by the Basson family who has passed down the tradition, passion and art of winemaking over four generations. Predominantly low-yield dryland bushvines are selected to produce these excellent wines with distinctive character.
The Chenin Blanc grapes were picked from very old dryland bushvine vineyards. The vineyard grows on weathered granite soils, contributing to the flavor of the grapes and mineral character of the wine. Production is limited to 5 tons/ha.
The grapes were harvest by hand at 22.1°B. The grapes were destalked and lightly crushed. Only the first 450 litres free-run juice per ton were fermented in stainless steel tanks at a cold temperature (10-12°C) for 21 days. The wines was left on the fermentation lees until bottling.
A crisp, fresh and fruity Chenin Blanc from low-yield dryland bushvines.
Pairs with salads, seafood, chicken and other light dishes. The perfect wine for every occasion.
Kasteelberg Chenin Blanc is made from 100 percent Chenin Blanc.
The Kasteelberg range of wines celebrates the discovery of the Riebeek Valley and the Kasteelberg mountains in 1661. Kasteelberg stands sentinel over the fertile valley below. From the slopes of the mountains, hand-selected grapes are expertly crafted with care to produce rare and expressive wines.
Limited release, single-vineyard Chenin Blanc from hand-selected grapes from the foothills of the majestic Kasteelberg Mountain, Kasteelberg Chenin Blanc embodies excellent craftsmanship that transforms the harsh Swartland terroir into the pinnacle of our winemakers’ art.
Together with the age-old tradition of Dry Land viticulture, it resulted in an elegant, aromatic and richly textured wine, with characteristics typical to Chenin Blanc grown under these conditions. Citrus, lemon zest, ripe apple and tropical flavors are only some of the flavors that charm the nose. The palate follows through with flavors of melon, a touch of spice and well-integrated wood for exceptional balance and a luxurious, lingering finish.
Once harvested, the grapes are hand-sorted, de-stemmed & crushed into temperature-controlled gravitational drainers. Only the free-run juice is chilled and settled overnight. The juice is then racked off into new, 300 L, oak barrels (50% French oak, 50% Hungarian oak) and wild yeast fermented in the barrels. Fermentation is temperature controlled and lasted around 22 days. The wine is then matured in the oak barrel on the gross lees for 12 months before being racked off, filtered and bottled. After bottling the wine is further bottle-matured for at least 6 months before release.
"This old-vine Chenin is made with fruit from a 1982 vineyard on the lower slopes of the Kasteelberg. Rich, leesy and slightly dominated by its 50% new wood, but this has the concentration and focus to age well in bottle. Honeyed, spicy intensity is complemented by racy, chiselled acidity. 2021-25"
- Tim Atkin (South Africa 2020 Report), 91 pts
Riebeek Chenin Blanc is made from 100 percent Chenin Blanc.
As the unofficial drink of the Riebeek Valley, the Riebeek Chenin Blanc is the perfect every day wine that offers uncomplicated quality for the novice and connoisseur alike.
Packed with upfront tropical fruit, the nose charms with an abundance of guava and gooseberries. The pallets follows through with fruit flavors, balanced by a crisp acid to ensure a fresh and fruity style of wine.
Grapes came from both bosstok and trellised vines with some of the vineyards as old as 46 years. Fermentation was done at lower than usual temperatures to capture the fresh fruit flavors.
Very accessible and suited to almost every occasion, the Riebeek Chenin Blanc never disappoints.
The Royal Chenin Blanc Old Vines Steen is 100 percent Chenin Blanc.
As the unofficial drink of the Riebeek Valley, Chenin Blanc is the perfect every day wine that offers uncomplicated quality for the novice and connoisseur alike. Packed with upfront melon fruit, the nose charms with an abundance of guava and gooseberries as well as the signature hint of honey. The palate follows through with fruit flavors balanced by a crisp acid to ensure a fresh and fruity style of wine.
Enjoy well-chilled as a lovely crisp glass on its own but ideal for al fresco dining and with light summer fare. Beautiful with salads, anti pasti and seafood.
Bavencoff Meursault Blanc Premier Cru is made from 100 percent Chardonnay.
Pale yellow in color, this is very charming with a rich bouquet of white fruits, grilled almonds and buttery aromas. The palate is ample, full-bodied and smooth. The delicate brioche flavors come beautifully before its fresh finish on citrus notes.
Aging: 100% oak barrels – 10 to 12 months
Produced fromp 100% Chardonnay.
Thanks to its clay rich soil, the vineyard produces a rich, opulent and luscious wine that can be enjoyed young. This is a powerful and elegant white Burgundy, expressive, fresh and fruity with intense and strong flavors. Unctuous and well-textured in the mouth with a distinguished acidity.
The array of intense aromas and exceptional balance will allow the wine to go with the most delicate yet intense dishes: rump of veal, crawfish, grilled lobster, risotto with morels.
Exceptionally aromatic with aromas of violets, hints of blackberry, blackcurrant and black plum on the nose. There is some spice that is balanced with fresh acidity and minerality. A long finish with ripe but firm tannins.
Dow's Senhora da Ribeira can be enjoyed anytime and pairs wonderfully with chocolate desserts and soft cheeses like creamy Stilton or Roquefort.
Rich and fruity, this wine is packed with intense black-currant flavors. It is perfumed, ripe with a good tannic background. The density of the wine and the firm structure point to a long aging process. Drink this beautifully structured wine from 2026.
-Wine Enthusiast 93 Points
Senhora da Ribeira has one of the most advanced specialist wineries in the Douro, combining the best of traditional winemaking practice, evolved over centuries, and the latest state-of-the-art automated systems. Three granite ‘lagares’ for foot treading are complemented by three ‘robotic’ lagares, designed by the Symington family and installed in the quinta’s winery in 2001.
It has long been recognised that traditional treading produced some of the finest Ports, but there are some drawbacks involved in traditional treading; temperature control is difficult, there is a limit to how long people are willing to tread and they need to sleep. The winemaker’s options are therefore limited, he or she cannot order treading at different times through the night, or pull people off the picking team at will. Furthermore, emptying the traditional lagar takes a long time; in the meantime the fermentation process is accelerating away. A further handicap arose over recent years, when an increasing scarcity of labour obliged producers to look for less labour-intensive vinification solutions. The Symingtons opted to devise a mechanical means of replicating the proven method of foot treading. The result was the Symington ‘robotic lagar’, an automated treading machine which exactly replicates the gentle action of the human foot and which has revolutionised winemaking in the Douro Valley. This equipment is very expensive but the results have been so good that an increasing proportion of Dow’s finest wines are now made in these automated lagares. Approximately half of the wines for Dow’s much praised 2003 Vintage were vinified in them.
The Senhora da Ribeira’s Quinta Vintage Ports have amassed a highly impressive number of awards: three Gold Medals at the International Wine Challenge, (2008, 2006 and 2001, for the 2005, 2002 and 1999 Vintages, respectively) as well as seven Silver Medals and two Gold Medals at the International Wine & Spirit Competition (London, 2008 for the 2005 Vintage and 2002 for the 1998 Vintage). In September 2006, Jancis Robinson MW wrote, “One very exciting new bottling is Dow’s Quinta da Senhora da Ribeira 2004...this single quinta bottling demonstrates superb quality with wonderful vibrancy. Great wine in any context - not that unlike some California reds! This is definitely a wine to look out for when it is released.”
The very hot climate through the summer at this vineyard results in highly complex and concentrated wines but very low yields. Colours of the musts in the fermentation tanks are always purple-black due to the very high skin to juice ratio. The old vines add further to the intensity of the wine as they make up a very large percentage of the vineyard. The resulting wine can be described as being the essence of Vintage Port, with powerful wild red-fruit flavours, leading into rich black chocolate notes, the whole balanced by complex, attractive and peppery tannins.
One of the Douro’s most beautiful vineyards, Senhora da Ribeira is located 24km (15 miles) upriver from Quinta do Bomfim in the remote Douro Superior. The vineyard commands a magnificent north bank position, overlooking a broad sweep of the Douro, directly opposite another famous Symington owned vineyard: Quinta do Vesuvio. Senhora de Ribeira was built close to an ancient river crossing, guarded by two 12th century castles on either side of the river built by the Moors during their centuries long occupation of Iberia. A small chapel dedicated to the ‘Lady of the River’ (literally: Senhora da Ribeira) has stood here for centuries and gave the quinta its name. Travellers would pause here to ask for a safe river passage and onward journey.
Senhora da Ribeira’s wines are some of the finest in the Douro and they complement those from Bomfim in the composition of Dow’s classic Vintage Ports. The quinta’s high proportion of old vines (45% are over 25 years old) is of critical importance. The old vines are very low-yielding, producing on average less than 1Kg of grapes each, giving intense and concentrated musts which are ideal for classic Vintage Port. The remainder of the vineyard was replanted as follows: 21% in 2001 and 34% from 2004, the latter involving mainly Touriga Nacional vines. This grape variety - very important for Vintage Port - now represents almost exactly a third of the total planted at the quinta. The entire vineyard has the maximum ‘A’ rating.
As with Bomfim, the consistency of the climate plays a key role, although the rainfall is only half of that experienced at Bomfim: 448mm is the 10 year average. This more extreme climate, hot dry summers and cold, equally dry winters results in wines with unique depth of colour and complexity.
As with Quinta do Bomfim, the best Ports from Senhora de Ribeira are used to make Dow’s Vintage Ports in the great and rare ‘Declared’ years. In the good year’s when Dow’s does not ‘declare’ a Vintage, the best wines of ‘The Lady of the River’ are bottled as Dow’s Quinta de Senhora da Ribeira Vintage Port. They will tend to mature a little earlier than the very rare ‘Declared’ years, but can be every bit as good as some other Vintage Ports.
Quinta Essentia is made from unique old vine Chenin Blanc vineyards. All four sites expressed optimally ripe fruit and excellent sugar and acid balance. There was no disease pressure due to the warm days, cool nights and low humidity levels. All fruit was harvested by hand with bunch selection happening in the vineyard and in the winery.
A deep yellow colour suggests full ripeness and complexity. Aromas of baked pear, ripe apple, hints of fresh citrus and roasted nuts are present on a complex and layered nose. The palate is richly textured revealing pineapple, tropical fruits and golden delicious apple. The finish is long complementeded by a firm acidity that gives the wine length and focus.
This wine will continue to develop in depth and complexity with further cellaring for at least 10 years after vintage.
After arriving at the winery, fruit was chilled overnight to 10 degrees Celsius. Whole bunch pressing resulted in only the best juice being pressed from the bunches, with light additions of sulphur on the pressed juice. The juice was naturally settled without the use of enzymes and transferred to a selection of French oak casks the following day. Fermentation occurs naturally and lasts for 4 to 12 weeks with periodic battonage. Due to low pH and high acid levels, there was minimal malolactic fermentation.
After ferments had completed, the barrels were topped, given a moderate addition of Sulphur and “tight bunged” ontop of the gross fermentation lees.
Pairs with Grilled fish and seafood in general.
Quinta Essentia is a partnership between Betz Family Winery, Carl van der Merwe, a leading winemaker in South Africa and Wendy Appelbaum, the owner of DeMorgenzon. We've set out to re-discover and resurrect compelling low yielding old bush vine Chenin Blanc vineyards in Stellenbosch South Africa. Our vision is to craft wine that expresses this unique terroir. Chenin Blanc is quintessentially South African- distinctive, aromatic, intense on the palate with an acid backbone that leaves you wanting more.
Date Founded: 2015
Why Quinta Essentia:
Ancient wisdom held that four elements, Air, Earth, Fire and Water, constitute the world, and that various combinations of these elements could create all objects and substances. The existence of the four elements implied that there must be an additional “fifth element", the “Quinta Essentia”. The Quinta Essentia was the aether itself; the substance that the heavens were made of. It was considered to be eternal, immutable and the source of all things. Philosophers have debated Quinta Essentia for centuries. No-one has managed to explain it conclusively. The search for vineyards with the potential to make an ethereal wine is just as elusive. Trying to solve this mystery is what makes winemaking so special. It’s about possibility and the journey, not the destination. We invite you to be part of our voyage of discovery.
The Search for our First Vineyard:
The road winds between towering trees, heading towards the majestic Helderberg mountain. The foothills come into view, clothed in the rich diversity of the fabled Cape Fynbos. Cossetted in the natural shrubbery are a number of carefully laid out vineyards parcels. One wonders what motivated the people who originally planted these vineyards in such a beautiful corner of the Cape. The vines, all Chenin Blanc, have now reached a gentle old age. The unspoilt valley has served as protection from the winds that can devastate some vineyards on the Helderberg. This site is famous for fat, but deadly, puff-adders and Cape Cobras who find their way out of the mountains hunting mice in between the vines. Marauding baboons are summer visitors when the heady scent of the ripening grapes call, and the rare Cape Leopard still stalks here. Walking through the vines, the scent of the embracing fragrant fynbos and the buzz of bees and cicadas abound in this habitat supported by the wealth of diversity offered by the unspoilt mountains. Were just about to discover our first vineyard....
The hill provides a great vista of False Bay which is less than 3 miles away. A persistent breeze blows off the ocean. We find ourselves experiencing the breeze before it has been tempered by the hills and warmth of the interior. The wind blows here incessantly, and at times can be fierce. The vineyards are diminutive, 35 year old bushvines, grown on a structured 100% weathered granite soil. Their leaves are the smallest of all the vineyards. They have thickened in response to the constant pressure of the wind. In addition to the incessant wind off the ocean, low soil nutrient have constrained the growth of these vines. The bunches are small and very compact with hard crunchy berries full of freshness and brightness. One can almost taste the crispness of the sea air in the fruit. This combination of yellow fruit and this freshness gives the resultant wines a natural tension, almost a nervousness, that can only be attributed to the windy conditions and granitic soils, hence the name Electric Granite. Electric granite brings a tension and mid palate structure to the wine. The finished wine displays a caramelized honey character and a wonderful taught mouthfeel.
Mountain's Edge: Fortitude:
A parcel of vines here exemplifies the most beautiful of vine structures - old bush vines that have been trained into basket shapes. These gnarled old vines exude a sense of gravitas and strength. With strong upright limbs they bear their bunches high off the ground and, with open arms, receive the sun from above. This sunlight penetrates the fruiting zone, whilst the height of the vine structure bears the fruit away from the heat radiating off the soil surface allowing preservation of tropical fruit flavours. The bunches are slightly larger here, and the vines seem to have more access to water and nutrients. This is evident in the size of the vines and the general strength of the block. There is a feeling of youthful vigour and vivacity here despite the fact that these vines are over 35 years old. The grapes burst with flavor and this same heady fruit character, of tropical fruits and yellow stone fruit is transferred into the resultant wine. The palate shows breadth and weight and serves as a fuller more fruit concentrated component in The Aether.
Mountain's Edge: The Sands
In the valley below us a timeless stream flows, having left large deposits of weathered sandstone on top of a bed of granite bedrock. Close to the stream there is one particular vineyard that shows a particular will to survive. Sand drains quickly, with the result that these vines have had to force their roots deep between the fissures of the weathered granite to search for valuable water needed during the growing season. The bunches and berries are smaller than usual. The berries show exceptional turgor and having developed a very thick skin in their struggle for survival in these dry alluvial deposits. They taste wonderfully balanced with a scintillating acidity. Pressing these grapes in the cellar confirms the same freshness and and taste. The fruit from ‘The Sands’ gives Quinta Essentia a persistant acidity and base of white fruit. Whilst the fruit profile is under played, it’s the incredible persistence and length of the wine that makes this vineyard such an important component of the blend.
Bathed in gentle morning sunlight this vineyard basks in the radiance of the early morning sunshine. Facing South East and with rows orientated in such a way that the vineyards are offered the best vantage of the morning sunlight, this site results in a gentle and slower ripening given the softness of the morning sunlight. Terraced vineyards allow each vine to have optimal exposure to the rising morning sun and minimal shading from the opposite vines. Very little wind movement as a result of protection from surrounding hills suggest why this vineyard still shows such great vigor after nearly 50 years. The bunches are larger here with a beautiful translucence. One can almost see through the berries as they bask in the morning sunshine. The berries here burst with gentle crisp flavors of citrus, pineapple and yellow apples. Flavors that would have been lost in a warmer or slightly harsher environment. The bunches yield a little more juice here and the wine shows a great balance and length on the palate...a gentleness and elegance unique to this site. The soil is granitic of origin with a good percentage of organic material keeping the vines in top health. First Light brings the all-important elegance and balance to the Quinta Essentia. It provides crunchy flavours of Citrus and Pineapple with a background of white flower honey.
Capitain Gagnerot Clos Vougeot Grand Cru is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir.
SOILSChalky soil with fossils from the Bajocian era mixed with red clay and laves. Heavy earth containing iron.
VINIFICATION / MATURING
Harvested by hand, sorted and destemed.
Alcoholic fermentation in open vats, for about 15 days with 2 punch-down a day at the beginning.
Maturation in oak barrels (10% new barrels) for 12 to 15 months.
Colour : Deep garnet red.
Nose : Black fruits aromas (blackcurrant, blueberry).
Mouth : Strong structure and powerfull tannins. After 10 to 15 years of ageing, it turns to crystallized fruits aromas with a long finish.
Game in a sauce, Burgundy cheese (Citeaux)
Mt. Brave Merlot is made from 100 percent Merlot.
This wine is flavors of blue fruits and mocha abounds with a rounding texture lift this wine on your palate. The long, steady finish exhibits why mountain Merlot stands alone.
Powerful, brooding and full of dark plum, dried blackberry and cherry flavors that feature notes of dark olive. Shows savory richness midpalate, with firm tannins on the finish, accented by dark chocolate details. Best from 2021 through 2026.
-Wine Spectator 94 Points
This is a brawny, herbal and structured wine from the great appellation, as wild and challenging as its provenance. Cedar, dried herb and clove surround dense black currant, licorice and brambly blackberry, with sinewy tannin and toasted oak in abundance. This will do well in the cellar; best 2026–2031. Cellar Selection.
-Wine Enthusiast 94 Points