When Springfield Estate first decided to single out a particular parcel of Sauvignon Blanc, over two decades ago, never could they imagine how iconic this wine would become.
Twenty-three years ago, driving home from a trade event in Cape Town, owner Abrie Bruwer was listening to 1998-hit single ‘Life’ by Des’ree on the radio. At that point, Abrie had been grappling for a suitable name for this particular parcel of wine that was so concentrated, so pure, that it deserved to be singled out.
The vineyard was rooted in incredibly rocky and hostile soil, terrain so harsh, the family managed to plant the site’s first vines only a few years prior. The site produced a truly unique wine – heady, aromatic and incredibly concentrated.
As Des’ree voice crooned over Abrie’s car speakers: “Life, oh Life…”, the light when on! “Life” from Stone was coined, and that summer, the maiden vintage made its grand debut.
“The first release of Life from Stone was an explosion,” says Jenna Bruwer. “It was a Sauvignon Blanc unlike any other, and one that many a wine critic or reporter said was “impossible to make” in our warm region. It defied all technical viticultural theories. We knew what our soils, and our hands, are capable of.”
Ever since that first vintage, 21 years ago, Springfield have sought to create the perfect glass of Sauvignon Blanc. Working extremely reductively with no oxygen exposure, allowed them to produce the best expression of this varietal.
In 2020, the family even started working with dry ice while harvesting to further limit the oxygen exposure from grape to glass. “We’re often asked: ‘What’s the secret?’ says Jenna. “There are no secrets or tricks. Rocks simply make the soil less, which acts as a concentrating factor.”
She says concentration is further aided by double density planting (6 060 vines per hectare) which brings about natural competition. A final concentrating aid is the age of the vines as older vines produce fewer, more concentrated grapes. “It is rare to find a wine with all three these concentrating factors, and it is one of the reasons why Life from Stone tastes the way it does,” says Jenna.
The most observant of Springfield fans might pick up the 2021 is in fact, the winery’s 22nd vintage. “2020 was a lost year for many, not only in terms of celebrations or milestones, but in lives, plans, and dreams. We decided to postpone Life from Stone’s coming-of-age celebration. Birthdays in 2020 didn’t count!,” says Jenna.
The family is excited to share the Life from Stone 2021 with its customer base, describing it as “the best vintage yet”.
“It’s been a challenging two years for everyone, and to get this excited about a wine seems almost frivolous. Yet if this pandemic has taught us anything, it is to appreciate and value what you have closest to you. We are thankful that we have 21 vintages under our belt, and that we’re able to continue our pursuit of perfection,” Jenna concludes.