Featured wine producer of the month: Ernie Els Wines
Usually, when sports or pop stars attach their name to wine, the products should be avoided at all costs! None of that here. Ernie Els, the South African iconic golf star has built a winery of the finest quality and assembled a wine-making team that deliver the best in products. His only input is that because of his personal love of Cabernet Sauvignon, the wines in general must be built on that grape variety. Well, if you own the winery, you need to enjoy drinking the products!
The winery was conceived back in 1999 and together with the vineyards, it is based on the side of the Helderberg Mountain. A quite spectacular position. The vineyards have been planted so they face in a north and northeast direction which, thanks to the extended hours of sunshine, allow the Cabernet Sauvignon vines to ripen to perfection. There is a Mediterranean climate which suits all vines well and in addition, they planted 9 diverse clones of Cabernet Sauvignon, all of which are suited to the various soil types on the estate and which give individual characteristics.
From the winery, there are sensational views of Table Mountain, the Helderberg Mountain and even the little town of Stellenbosch itself. Inside the winery there is an array of concrete tanks – ideally suited to red wine production – and a remarkable barrel cellar where the wines mature.
In terms of offerings, there are a couple of whites and a rose to go alongside the superb reds in the Big Easy Range, wines which offer both great concentration and balance at affordable prices. Then comes the Major Series where the wines offer classic varietal characters that show excellent ripeness and true class. Finally, there is the Proprietor’s Blend which is produced from 6 different grape varieties so, as you can no doubt imagine, it’s a wine of great complexity and excellent body whilst maintaining great freshness thanks to the elevated vineyard positions.
Wine maker Louis Strydom who has been at the helm from the start is making sensational wines that are truly world class, just like Ernie!