Scenes from Joburg wine bar Ace + Pearl.
It’s got all the requisite exposed brick, dim lighting and artisanal offerings of a contemporary urban bar in Joburg, but Ace + Pearl is no pretentious hipster joint. Owners Derryn and Terence Orpen keep the shelves stocked with little-known bottles, supporting and promoting South Africa’s rising-star winemakers. The Craighall Park bar buzzes at night when oenophiles come together to Meet the Maker, in which winemakers swap blending for bartending.
We asked Derryn and Terence about what they’ll be drinking this winter…
fram pinotage 2013
Citrusdal Mountain, Thinus Krüger
Thinus Krüger, a true character of the wine industry in South Africa, describes his decision to start Fram better than anyone, ‘After 12 long years of making really good wines for really nice people, I decided that it was time to make some even better wines for myself. And obviously for you too. And for a whole lot of other deserving people on this planet. So if you are keen on good wines, wines that ooze personality, and you want to keep ahead of the Joneses, this is the right place to be.’
Why Derryn and Terence will be drinking it this winter: ‘This wine is full, rich and round with super charm on the nose and lots of structure and dark berries. The grapes are from a farm in the hills north of Clanwilliam.’
testalonga baby bandito follow your dreams carignan 2015
No fining or filtering are the hallmarks of KwaZulu-Natal native and king of the natural wine movement in South Africa, Craig Hawkins. Craig and his wife, Carla, are producing avant-garde wines in the Swartland and are changing the way the world sees local wines. The 100% Carignan bush vines were planted in 2011, farmed organically and hand harvested.
Why Derryn and Terence will be drinking it this winter: ‘We love their story, the imaginative labelling, the fact that this is a natural wine and the delicious fruits on the palette. Out of all of his 2015 wines, Craig was most worried about Follow Your Dreams, but it has proved to show great promise and is one of the quickest selling wines at Ace + Pearl.’
restless river cabernet sauvignon 2012
Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Craig & Anne Wessels
Craig and Anne are self-taught winemakers, guided by sense rather than science. They farm as naturally as possible and believe the grapes develop depth and complexity through struggle. In Craig’s words, ‘I like my wines to be honest, to be a true reflection of the cultivar, vineyard and the vintage from which they result.’
Why Derryn and Terence will be drinking it this winter: ‘It ranges from medium- to full-bodied and is aged for four to five years before release, so it’s pretty much ready to enjoy. The bold style expresses ripe, soft tannins and a rich fruit flavour that will develop further layers of complexity over time. We love to drink this wine on its own or paired with our kudu terrine with brandied prunes and pistachio nuts.’
craven faure syrah 2015
Stellenbosch, Mick & Jeanine Craven
Jeanine from Stellenbosch and Mick from Australia met in California and after working a number of harvests all over the world they decided to head to Stellenbosch to make it home. They interfere with the wine as little as possible in order to express the uniqueness of the vineyard, and hardly anything is added in the cellar apart from a splash of SO2. Wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Why Derryn and Terence will be drinking it this winter: ‘Peppery with black cherry, blackberry and spice, Craven Faure is a super-drinkable Syrah with brightness and freshness.’
b vintners liberté pinotage 2014
Stellenbosch, Gavin Bruwer & Bruwer Raats
B Vintners is a collaboration between cousins Gavin Bruwer and Bruwer Raats. Their aim is to tell the story of the heritage of South African wine and they focus on sourcing grapes from some of the most interesting vineyards in the Cape. Born from the crossing of Pinot Noir and Cinsault in the 1920s, Pinotage is of great importance to winemaking in South Africa and is part of our country’s rich heritage.
Why Derryn and Terence will be drinking it this winter: ‘This Pinotage was made with minimal intervention so that this homegrown South Africa variety can express its true character. It’s elegant, fresh and medium-bodied and has hints of red berry fruit and potpourri.’