Elmarie Botes.
Elmarie Botes.
Image: Supplied

What’s your favourite style of white wine and why? I particularly enjoy working with chenin blanc, one of South Africa’s earliest and most widely planted grape varieties, since it’s so versatile. It can take on many forms: wooded, unwooded, used as a component in a blend, or standing on its own. It’s used in the making of sparkling, dry, semi-sweet, and sweet wines, as well as brandy, and it can handle oak extremely well. Nederburg’s Heritage Heroes The Anchorman chenin blanc is a really interesting and expressive wine that’s a blend of very differently vinified components. I love making this wine.

What in your opinion has the most potential, when it comes to white wine from Nederburg? International wine critics, writers, and taste makers have in recent years come to recognise chenin blanc as South Africa’s calling card. I believe our country’s strongest suit is its ability to make this wine in a variety of styles. Additionally, through Nederburg’s access to a wide range of cultivars, we’re experimenting with unusual varieties, such as albariño and roussanne, when it comes to white wines.

I believe wine connoisseurs are hungry for something different.

Another trend is to produce minimum-intervention natural wine. Sustainability is most definitely a hot topic, not only in South Africa but globally

Your most memorable wine moment? There have been many: the first time I made my own wine, during my three-year internship with the Cape Winemakers Guild; the time I experienced a harvest in France, where I assisted with making chardonnay at Domaine Pattes Loup in Courgis, Chablis; and definitely being appointed white-wine maker at Nederburg in late 2017.

What’s the most popular white wine on the shelves in terms of sales? Chenin blanc. We’ve seen a rise in popularity of this variety, both locally and internationally. There’s also been quite a growing interest, from a Nederburg perspective, in our aromatic wines such as riesling and gewürztraminer.

What other wine trends should we look out for? Unusual grape varieties and styles, such as albariño, gewürztraminer, graciano, roussanne, tempranillo, tannat, verdelho, viura. Nederburg is one of only two producers in South Africa with access to albariño grapes, giving us a distinct advantage.

Another trend is to produce minimum-intervention natural wine. Sustainability is most definitely a hot topic, not only in South Africa but globally. Nederburg grows and makes wine in a way that is environmentally sustainable. Wine drinkers across the world are also increasingly seeking out wines with slightly lower alcohols that still offer a spectrum and intensity of flavour. Less oak-dominated wine styles and an increased emphasis on freshness are some of the trends we’re observing and acting on.

- From the October edition of Wanted magazine.

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