That Wine Demesne
Demesne: (n)/di’mein, di’mi:n – The Lord’s waste. Apiece of land attached to the manor and retained by the owner (the Lord) for their own use.
About The Butlers: David has always had a penchant for gardening, he loves trees, and things grow for him. We also both like wine – especially that evening glass after a long day’s work! So one day while we were wandering around our little Demesne, with a glass of excellent vintage and the dogs, he looked across at Bramon Wine Estate and said “what about we do a small field?” So we nipped across to Peter & Caroline Thorpe (the Thorpe’s of Bramon), had dinner and planned our wine future on a paper table mat and that pretty much sealed it. So easy, that small white piece of paper …
About the Vineyard: That Field now boasts 1308 Pinot Noir vines – there was a lot of growth in the first season, both for us and the vines. The vines came through it a lot easier than we did. It is addictive, this growing of vines for the making of wines. So addictive, we decided to create another area: That Field Too is growing a storm – 1500 bustling Pinot Noir vines which will be ready for the 2018 season. And, just to add a little lustre, we planted 600 vines in That Other Field in 2016. In total we now have one hectare of Pinot Noir under vines and 2018 will see a further 2200 vines being planted on That’s The Last Field!
About Growing and Producing Wine in the Area: The climate of Plettenberg Bay seems to be ideal for Pinot Noir. The vineyard is in an area called The Crags, about twenty kilometres east of Plett. As the name suggests, the area is mountainous and the vines are planted on the edge of a deep gorge. Fresh sea breezes funnel up the gorge ensuring that temperatures are seldom higher than the low-to-mid twenties and we (and the vines) are spared the intense heat of the Western Cape winelands. The soil is well-suited as for wine production: a fairly thin layer of topsoil over koffieklip and then clay (a profile quite similar to parts of the Hemel and Aarde valley).
About the 2016 Vintage: The first crop had a difficult time: we had quite a wet spring with consequent mildew problems. The berry size was quite large for Pinot, and we lost a lot of grapes to birds and botrytis. We made a grand total of 577 bottles but despite the difficulties, the verdict from expert opinions (many opinions) has been that this is an excellent beginning. Young as it is, it displays several of the important characteristics: good legs, exceptional colour, definite structure. The tannins are very gentle. Second-fill barrels were used, so the wood is very light, and the acids are good.
About the 2017 Vintage: The vines are a year older and are stronger and more uniform. It has been a hot, dry summer and the berries were small and full of flavour. Again, we significantly reduced the crop load so as not to tire the young vines. The yield Is double that of 2016, and this vintage has a whopping 1282 bottles! We harvested earlier this year and the wine is lighter bodied with more red berry notes, hints of forest floor, elegant structure and low tannins.
Paying it Forward: We are delighted that That Wine was chosen by the FRIENDS OF KURLAND FOUNDATION to represent the value a small local venture has in long-term support in a poor area: permanent, full-time employment in a learning environment.
This Dutch foundation is run by Marc Schoon at Madiba Travel and Pieter van Rensburg, a local Plettenberg Bay resident. Through this foundation, funds are raised to run various projects in Kurland Village. Its aims are ambitious, but simple: uplifting the community, in particular the youth, by developing and improving the welfare of the community.
How to prepare That Wine for opening and drinking: Chill your bottle(s), open (you’ll need a corkscrew) and let it breathe, the longer, the better.
Goes perfectly with good food, good company, a good book and a good walk with the dogs … of course.