logo
g Text Version
Beauty & Self
Books & Music
Career
Computers
Education
Family
Food & Wine
Health & Fitness
Hobbies & Crafts
Home & Garden
Money
News & Politics
Relationships
Religion & Spirituality
Sports
Travel & Culture
TV & Movies

dailyclick
Bored? Games!
Nutrition
Postcards
Take a Quiz
Rate My Photo

new
European Travel
Action Movies
Bible Basics
Houseplants
Romance Movies
Creativity
Family Travel


dailyclick
All times in EST

Full Schedule
g
g Wine Site

BellaOnline's Wine Editor

g

Silkbush Mountain Vineyards




When a major California winery decided to buy a wine farm in South Africa they hired Dave Jefferson to investigate suitable sites. He teamed up with South African viticulturist Anton Koos and together they took soil samples, temperature readings and water analysis and decided the Breede River Valley had best prospects. Several farms were proposed but the California winery changed its mind about investing.

A few years later Anton Koos found out their prime choice was back on the market and he phoned California to tell Dave Jefferson who decided to buy it himself with Anton as a partner. Dave been enthused by the potential of the region and brought on board enough investors to purchase in 2000 what became Silkbush Mountain Vineyards. Anton Koos moved onto the farm as General Manager. Dave had businesses to manage in the States so had to content himself with monthly visits.

The farm was mostly orchards. Anton undertook a comprehensive replanting programme of grape vines. Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, and Pinotage are the most planted varieties and they also grow Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Viognier, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc.

They also set aside 25 hectares of rare Breede Alluvium Fynbos as a biodiversity conservation project.

When the vines started producing several famous wineries, including Flagstone and Guardian Peak, contracted to buy their grapes. Until recently all Silkbush’s grapes have gone to partner wineries but now they reserve some rows of the high Pinotage vineyard for themselves which they market under the Silkbush label in South Africa and export as Lions Drift Pinotage. Already Lions Drift is listed on Silversea Luxury Cruise Lines and American Airline’s Business Class.

On my recent visit to South Africa I visited Silkbush where Anton found time in his busy schedule to drive me up the mountain to the Pinotage vineyard. On the way he told me the farm covers 140ha of which 87ha are planted to vines.

The Pinotage vineyard is at the highest point of the farm at 730 metres, on the upper corner of the hillside. Mountains rise steeply beyond; one of them is Sybasberg which translates as Silkbush Mountain and gives its name to the farm. Looking over the vineyards, I could see the valley stretching out into the distance to mountains opposite. The sky was deep blue without a cloud with a raptor lazily circling above.

It is a most beautiful location and there is a guesthouse on the property that can be booked. It was originally intended for the investors but (it seems amazing to me), with the exception of Dave Jefferson, none have made the journey to this most beautiful of winelands.

The vineyard slope faces West-North-West and is always two degrees Celsius cooler here than the valley floor. The soil is shale and quartzite. It is naturally loose but there aren’t many nutrients so they don’t get vigorous vine growth

Silkbush aim to harvest just seven tons per hectare. Quality is the driving factor so they remove half of the crop at 80% véraison. Leaving it this late maintains berry size.

I tasted the 2009 vintage. It has good dark red colour with an inviting nose. There is an explosion of ripe fruits on the palate, blackberry with damsons underneath. There’s a touch of oak, really nicely integrated, that leaves a trace of vanilla and a pleasant grip. This is a clean, fresh, modern fruit-forward Pinotage with a good fruit-acid balance of making it very food friendly. It is great drinking now but I think in a couple of years to develop it will be a stunner.

Silkbush don’t yet have their own wine making facility so the wine is made at Waboomsrivier cellar, a stone’s throw away, under the auspices of Bennie Wannenburg who’s made many a prizewinning Pinotage. Great fruit, great winemaker, great wine.

To book the guest cottage and read more about Silkbush visit www.silkbush.com



Ask questions and talk about wine on our forum.




Peter F May is the author of Marilyn Merlot and the Naked Grape: Odd Wines from Around the World which features more than 100 wine labels and the stories behind them, and PINOTAGE: Behind the Legends of South Africa’s Own Wine which tells the story behind the Pinotage wine and grape, also available for the Kindle and Apple iPad.




Disclosure: Peter F May visited South Africa and Silkbush at his own expense.



Photobucket

The high Pinotage vineyard, arrowed




Photobucket

Viticulturist and General Manager Anton Koos in the vineyard




Photobucket

Grapes almost ripe on the vines. View looking over the valley.



Photobucket

Same wine, two labels. Export Lions Drift label is on the right






Add Silkbush+Mountain+Vineyards to Twitter Add Silkbush+Mountain+Vineyards to Facebook Add Silkbush+Mountain+Vineyards to MySpace Add Silkbush+Mountain+Vineyards to Del.icio.us Digg Silkbush+Mountain+Vineyards Add Silkbush+Mountain+Vineyards to Yahoo My Web Add Silkbush+Mountain+Vineyards to Google Bookmarks Add Silkbush+Mountain+Vineyards to Stumbleupon Add Silkbush+Mountain+Vineyards to Reddit




RSS | Related Articles | Editor's Picks Articles | Top Ten Articles | Previous Features | Site Map


For FREE email updates, subscribe to the Wine Newsletter


Past Issues


print
Printer Friendly
bookmark
Bookmark
tell friend
Tell a Friend
forum
Forum
email
Email Editor


Content copyright © 2014 by Peter F May. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Peter F May. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Peter F May for details.

g


g features
Dial M for Merlot - Book Review

The Man Who Created Baco Noir and Baco Blanc

Henry of Pelham, Niagara, Canada

Archives | Site Map

forum
Forum
email
Contact

Past Issues
memberscenter


vote
Poetry
Daily
Weekly
Monthly
Less than Monthly



BellaOnline on Facebook
g


| About BellaOnline | Privacy Policy | Advertising | Become an Editor |
Website copyright © 2014 Minerva WebWorks LLC. All rights reserved.


BellaOnline Editor