Saronsberg, a leading Cape winery producing some of the most consistently acclaimed Shiraz and Rhone-style blends, has celebrated the launch of Sekelmaan - a brand new addition to this iconic legacy. For Cellar Master Dewaldt Heyns, who has headed the cellar since its inception in 2004, the release of this ultra-premium Shiraz represents a new milestone in Saronsberg’s history.
“I’ll never forget one of my mentors telling me it takes at least 10 years of working with the same land before a winemaker truly begins to understand it. After almost two decades of learning and growing with these vineyards, this terroir, I am more convinced than ever of the wisdom in those words. Truly outstanding wine takes time. Over the course of almost 20 years, we've built an excellent track record and I’m confident our patience has paid off. Now is the time to bring to light the next level of our potential.”
Respect for the integrity of time is embedded in each one of the 1,500 bottles of Sekelmaan that make up this limited release. From the careful handpicking of grapes, through extended maceration on the skins during open-tank fermentation, to the 20 months in new French oak and further 60 months spent maturing in bottle - everything about this wine epitomises that true quality cannot be rushed.
“The harvest for this maiden vintage began on the 23rd of February 2015,” says Heyns. “That night, we noticed a sickle moon – ‘sekelmaan’ – rising above the Saronsberg Mountain. This phase traditionally represents growth and rebirth, a perfect symbol for what this wine signifies in our evolution as a cellar.”
Most winemakers laud the 2015 vintage as one of the Cape’s finest to date. In Tulbagh, the warm and dry growing season produced exceptionally healthy grapes which enjoyed optimal ripening, thanks to an unusually even-temperatured February. These rich, concentrated grapes resulted in wines with ripe structured tannins and a long, elegant finish. These qualities are exemplified in Sekelmaan. The grapes were sourced from the upper reaches of Block 27, a small vineyard located on the east-facing slopes of Saronsberg Mountain. This is the first time a single-vineyard wine has been released under
the Saronsberg label, and Block 27 was chosen for its consistently superior quality. The higher gravel content of these soils ensures better drainage and reduced vigour, delivering smaller berries and leaner yields; and higher elevation keeps temperatures at least three degrees cooler than the valley floor, supporting slower and more balanced ripening. It’s not surprising that fruit from this superlative block is also the cornerstone of internationally renowned wines like the flagship Saronsberg Full Circle and Heyns’ Cape Winemakers Guild stalwart, Die Erf Shiraz.
As with all offerings in the Saronsberg portfolio, Sekelmaan will follow its own evolution led by clear intention. This new icon will always represent the finest Shiraz the farm has to offer, while showcasing the best vineyard or best wine from any given vintage. In this way, it will emulate its namesake - the moon - changing its appearance through the passage of time, but always constant in its essential nature.