Overgaauw Merlot 2011

Well known for producing exceptional quality wines and ports is the Overgaauw Estate, outside Stellenbosch. The farm, which is over a century old, has been owned by the van Velden family for four generations who during this time have been producing award winning wines from the excellent soils on the estate which form part of the Stellenbosch Kloof area.

Since 2007, fourth-generation winemaker and University of Stellenbosch graduate, David van Velden, has been at the helm of the winemaking team and with him he brings his youthful energy and passion to continue the legacy created by his forefathers. “Experience and some school fees helped me identify a clear view of what I would like to achieve. First and foremost is a continuous focus on expressing a sense of place in all our wines and increase the purity and cleanliness of fruit in our wines across the range. This is what our unique terroir deserves and I guess the three generations before me expect as well. I want to express fresh and cleaner Overgaauw fruit identity in the reds and mid palate fruit and balance in the white wines.”

His philosophy in winemaking starts with his meticulous vineyard management; applying practices to maintain the natural balance in the soil and assisting the vines to produce the best fruit the site and vintage has to offer. “In the vineyards experience has shown that our vines only start expressing their sense of authenticity after about 10 years and our picking decision is based predominantly on berry tasting rather than lab analysis. I have also spent the last 18 months exploring methods and options to be a better custodian of the land: how I can lower and ultimately eliminate the use of synthetic fertilizers and weed-killers in the vineyards, to explore ways to communicate the terroir I inherited more accurately and more sustainably, with the determination to leave the soil in a better state than when I received it.”

Along with David revitalizing Overgaauw for the road ahead it was appropriate to refresh the wine labels which are seen for the first time with the introduction of the new vintages. The labels are elegant, yet more modern, but still embrace the heritage of this historic family farm.

I tasted through a few of the new vintages recently and particularly enjoyed the 2011 Merlot. The wine displays the new label and interesting to know that in 1982 Overgaauw was the first South African estate to bottle the varietal Merlot. The 2011 is already smooth with rich voluptuous red and black cherry fruit where the carved tannins support the tremendous depth and length of the wine.

Expect to pay: R108.00

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