The Neethlingshof Short Story Collection began with the creation of The Owl Post Pinotage, which is named for the dozens of owl posts that have been erected across the farm to encourage these nocturnal predators into the vineyards – an eco-friendly means of controlling pests on the estates.
The estate’s sustainable approach, which includes the creation of wilderness corridors of endemic fynbos on the farm, has seen endemic fauna and flora thrive on the property. Among the conservation successes has been the return of the elusive caracal cat to the farm, which is in turn celebrated in The Caracal, a classic Bordeaux-style red blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Merlot.
Then there is The Six Flowers, the flagship white wine produced on Neethlingshof and a remarkable expression of the 378ha estate. Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc form the foundation of this wine, with splashes of Viognier, Gewürztraminer and Weisser Riesling adding aromatics and complexity. The Six Flowers pays tribute to Maria Magdalena Marais – the widowed young matriarch who, in 1814, ordered six ornate flowers to adorn the gable above the front door of Neethlingshof’s iconic manor house: one for herself and one for each of her five daughters.
Also created as a tribute to Maria is The Maria, a Noble Late Harvest – made from Weisser Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc – that is the fourth wine in the Short Story Collection. Grapes for The Maria are sourced from dry-land vineyards on the upper slopes of the farm, where sea mists from nearby False Bay create ideal conditions for botrytis cinerea (noble rot) to flourish, and the wine combines a bouquet of dried apricots and peaches with a balanced palate of fruitcake, honey and marmalade.
The fifth and final element in the collection is the recently released Jackal’s Dance Sauvignon Blanc. Grapes for this wine are sourced from a certified single vineyard planted on the estate 20 years ago, with the unique terroir of the site contributing to the wine’s blend of minerality and tropical fruit.
With the vines planted up to 180m above sea level, ‘it’s a vineyard situated high up on the farm,’ says De Wet Viljoen, winemaker at Neethlingshof. ‘The vines face False Bay, so it enjoys the cooling effect of the southwesterly winds blowing in off the Atlantic Ocean. In the heat of summer the winds cool down the vineyard, which contributes to the character of the wine. We decided on that specific vineyard for Jackal’s Dance because of the consistent quality that we get year after year.’
Jackal’s Dance offers up subtle aromas of green pepper, figs and ripe gooseberries, underpinned by tropical notes and ‘a crisp minerality that will contribute to [its] longevity,’ says Viljoen. All of which makes it the perfect match for oysters – as well as light summer meals such as a platter of seared tuna or salmon, drizzled with olive oil and served with a fresh garden salad.
This special collection of five story-telling wines, packaged in a beautiful branded Neethlingshof box, is now available for sale from the Neethlingshof tasting centre at R1 350 for the set. And we think it makes the perfect luxurious gift… For more information, visit neethlingshof.co.za.