In 2009 The Neethlingshof wine estate outside Stellenbosch launched a highly successful reserve tier of wines, made exclusively from hand-picked grapes, which are named The Short Story Collection. They draw attention to Neethlingshof’s rich and varied narratives, and initially they started the collection with three limited edition wines each of which focus on a specific aspect of the estate’s philosophy or history.
They have the Owl Post, being a single-vineyard Pinotage, and draws attention to the estate’s integrated pest management that forms part of the winery’s focus on production integrity to reduce its dependence on pesticides. Owl posts have been placed strategically throughout the vineyards. The wine has been produced from dryland vines established in deep red soils that is rich in organic material and amply feeds the roots. The Caracal, which is their flagship Bordeaux style blend, celebrates the return of the rooikat to Neethlingshof since the start of its programme two years ago to conserve and rehabilitate areas of indigenous habitat, particularly the unique ecosystems surrounding the estate’s granite hills. These Rooikatte are now also breeding on Neethlingshof. Last of the three launched in 2009 was the Maria. This is the new name for the acclaimed Weisser Riesling Noble Late Harvest and honours Maria Magdalena Marais, the resourceful and feisty young widow who took over the building of the Neethlingshof estate’s manor house after the death of her husband, Charles, in 1813.
Late January saw in a newcomer to the collection called Six Flowers with the first vintage being from 2012. This is Neethlingshof’s first wooded white wine, which is a blend of the six white cultivars that grow on the farm. Winemaker, De Wet Viljoen, said he wanted to extend the estate’s product line-up with a top-quality wooded white wine which would be complex and well balanced.”I think this wine offers exactly that. Chenin blanc and Chardonnay dominate the blend with 30% each, followed by Sauvignon blanc (20%) and Viognier (10%). The wine has been rounded off with the addition of small quantities of Gewürztraminer and Weisser Riesling.
“With this wine we also celebrate the completion of the comprehensive, scientifically based replanting of the entire estate which has been on the go for more than a decade. By choosing the correct location for each cultivar and by selecting the best clones for each, it has been possible to noticeably enhance the natural flavour and aroma of the grapes we harvest today. The improved quality of the grapes comes through very strongly in the new wine.”
De Wet said the grapes of the different cultivars were vinified separately and then matured for eight months in new French oak barrels before blending. I first tasted the wine at a lunch with De Wet at the lovely Kirstenbosch Tea Room restaurant within the Kirstenbosch Gardens, an apt place to introduce a wine called Six Flowers. The six flowers depicted on the label belong to the Hesperantha family. Widely dispersed in especially the indigenous Renosterveld vegetation of the Western Cape, they are also known as evening flowers.
The beautifully decorated Neethlingshof Short Story Collection Six Flowers 2012 offers lovely rich and fresh lemon zest aromas which leads one to a refined silky palate of creamy fresh peach flavours with a citrusy twist on the finish. The wine paired perfectly with sushi salad and crispy fried prawns prepared by Pamela Shippel who is the owner and chef of The Kirstenbosch Tea Room.
And last but not least if you are considering buying flowers for your loved one on Valentine’s Day maybe include a bottle of Six Flowers as a pleasant addition!
Expect to pay: R85.50