Nederburg’s prestige Heritage Heroes collection has become more focused, says Nederburg cellar master, Samuel Viljoen. “In every way, from the liquid to the livery, you’ll find a polished precision. The wines are fresher, livelier, and more poised.
“They reflect the benefits of precision farming. As we know more, we can measure more, and manage more, with better results. We’ve become more adept at letting the terroir and fruit shine.”
There are now three Heritage Heroes wines in the trimmed ensemble, down from five. They are The Brew Master, a Bordeaux-style red blend; The Motorcycle Marvel, a Rhône-style red blend; and The Anchor Man, an old-vine wood-fermented Chenin Blanc aged in clay, stainless steel, and a variety of barrels.
“Streamlining helps us to concentrate on really excelling where we’ve proved we can, rather than trying to do everything. Our aim is to become recognised as South Africa’s pre-eminent cellar specialising in Cabernet and Cabernet-based red blends but obviously with a focus too on whites of excellence.”
The new labels feature a finer-grained and more detailed graphic flourish. “We’ve opted for striking packaging to convey sophistication and heritage in a way that honours the heroes who helped shape who we are today.
While The Brew Master deftly showcases Nederburg’s hero grape, Cabernet Sauvignon, in this very distinguished, classically styled blend, The Motorcycle Marvel, with Shiraz and Carignan in the lead, is less overtly wooded than its predecessors for added freshness, balance and refinement. The barrel-fermented Anchor Man is now made entirely from old Swartland and Paarl vines close to 40 years’ old and reflects a creamy and layered complexity.
Viljoen makes the point that the revised Heritage Heroes trio is emblematic of Nederburg’s new momentum. “We’re striving for elegance, restraint and longevity in our wines, driven by the principles of sustainability, excellence, innovation and creativity within the team.
“Central to our championing of sustainability is the protection of our natural assets. We are farming more regeneratively, starting with assiduous attention to soil health. We use water more sparingly thanks to more detailed weather information and real-time vine and soil moisture measurements. We have also improved access to heat- and drought-resistant grape varieties and to a wider clonal range. Over the years, vineyards have become more optimally sited. Where we can, we also nurture old vineyards rather than opt for the more conventional replacement cycle of every 20 years or so.
The red blends will retail for around R225 each, and the Chenin, for R190. The new-style, new-look wines are now available in selected outlets and online at www.nederburg.com or www.vinoteque.co.za. The current vintages on offer are The Anchor Man 2020 and the 2018 vintage of The Motorcycle Marvel and The Brew Master.
About the heritage heroes
- The Brew Master is named for Johan Graue, a former owner of Nederburg, who bought the farm in 1937. He had previously been a co-owner of a leading brewery in Germany. He revolutionised South African winemaking by introducing clonal selection to identify top-performing vines for reproduction. He also introduced cold fermentation to enhance wine quality and freshness.
- The Motorcycle Marvel honours Gűnter Brözel, a former Nederburg cellarmaster and pioneer, who was the first winemaker in South Africa to win the International Wine & Spirit Competition Winemaker of the Year Award (1985). He was fanatical about quality and used his 250cc BSA motorcycle to drive through the vineyards and to rush back to the cellar, keeping an eye on everyone and everything.
- The Anchor Man remembers Nederburg’s founder, Philippus Wolvaart, who bought the farm in 1791. He established the first vineyards on the land, including Chenin Blanc.
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