Welgegund Heritage Wines release Cinsault and Grenache Noir varietal wines

NOVEMBER 6, 2018

Intense, beautifully packaged 2017 special releases from low-yielding dryland bush vines

Welgegund, meaning “well-bestowed”, is the perfect title for this heritage estate nestled at the foot of the magnificent Hawequa mountains at the end of an oak-lined cul-de-sac in Wellington. Visitors don’t have to venture far to experience the fruits of its blessings: a place of natural beauty, heritage buildings dating back to the early 1800’s and a unique fingerprint of terroir and climate.

Although historically a fruit farm, it is as a wine farm that Welgegund has truly come into its own. The ancient decomposed granite of the foothills yields vines that produce intensely flavoured fruit ideal for creating the very best wines. The breezes funnelling down the valley from the Bains Kloof Pass moderate the extremes of the climate and the old dryland bush vines offer extremely low yields of fruit (average of 2.4 tons per hectare) with exceptional concentration. With quality the bedrock, the focus is on growing cultivars uniquely suited to the farm, namely Rhône-style varieties, and launching limited releases only in very good years.

Welgegund’s heritage vineyards and the Old Vines Project

Welgegund’s ancient blocks of low-yielding dryland bush vines: chenin blanc (1974), cinsault (1974) and carignan (1979) form part of the new and exciting Old Vine Project, an industry initiative dedicated to recognising the special character of the Cape’s wine heritage and to preserving these beautiful old vines.

Vineyards more than 35 years old are being honoured with Certified Heritage Vineyards plaques, and wines made from these heritage vineyards will proudly bear the Old Vine Project Heritage Certification Seal – A World First! In recognition of the important work of the Old Vine Project, the Platter’s Wine Guide is including the Certified Heritage Wines icon in the 2019 edition.

What makes Old Vines wine special? Like older people, ancient vines have their own unique story that the Old Vine Project is passionate about protecting and sharing. Heritage vineyards produce wines with a distinctive character that has developed over decades including denser texture and structure, complexity, concentration and earthy flavour compounds rather than aromas and fruity flavours. Age in vines brings an intensity, a perceived freshness and a sense of place.



The vintage

“2017 proved to be an exceptional vintage,” says winemaker, Friedrich Kühne. “Our single vineyard Cinsault and Grenache Noir are normally destined for blending but when I saw the exceptional quality of these varietals in barrel, I just knew that I had to do single cultivar bottlings of these top niche varieties and show these wines to the world. The immense drought of the 2016/2017 season had created smaller Cinsault and Grenache berries bringing lovely colour and intense concentration to the wines, with a wealth of fruit, richness, texture and depth of flavour. I wanted to showcase the ample fruit and aromas unique to Cinsault and Grenache.”

Wine philosophy

Welgegund’s wine philosophy is to craft wines of authenticity and distinction, with intense detail in the vineyards, and minimal intervention in the cellar to allow vineyard and terroir expression, to create wines true to the cultivar. Gentle winemaking allows the expression of the natural elements bestowed upon Welgegund and careful extraction of aromas, colour and flavour. All the fruit was picked by hand into small crates, an extremely labour-intensive exercise when harvesting old bush vines.

The grapes were de-stemmed and sorted using state-of-the-art Pellenc grape receiving equipment, a gentle but effective process that keeps both the berries and the stalks intact. Extended cold-soaking for 48 hours ensured good colour and flavour early on. Fermentation was partly natural, with different yeasts added for the desired complexity.

Both the Cinsault and the Grenache completed malolactic fermentation naturally. A large portion of the wine was aged unoaked, to retain fresh fruity aromas, with the balance aged for 14 months in 3rd and 4th-fill French oak barrels. The wines were not fined and only roughly filtered during the bottling process.

Wine packaging

“We were so impressed with these two niche cultivar bottlings that we pulled out all the stops with exquisite packaging - bold imported bottles, simple and elegant wrap-round labels, regal wax seals and numbered bottles,” continued Friedrich.

Contact Franchisee Anne Udemans
Winelands West contact number 078 612 4612
Winelands West email address anne@homefoodandtravel.co.za