Strauss & Co’s first live event for 2021 will be held over three days in April. Collectors can expect the finest in the categories of modern, post-war and contemporary art; jewellery; wine; and decorative arts — with the wine portfolio being the latest addition to its registrar, in collaboration with Wine Cellar fine wine merchants and expert sommelier Higgo Jacobs.
Taking place from April 11-13, the fine wines virtual auction will be the first to go live on April 11 at 11am — and features De Toren Private Cellar, Meerlust Estate and Mullineux.
We spoke to some of SA’s top producers to get a better understanding of their wines on auction and the journey that led to this point.
Your wines are some of the most sought after in SA: please tell us a bit about them, and the journey to this point?
Eddie Turner on behalf of Hannes Myburgh, Meerlust: Growing fine wines on the Meerlust Estate has been part of the Myburgh family tradition since 1756. Long recognised for producing world-class wines, the Meerlust Estate is singularly rich in charm and history. When Hannes Myburgh succeeded his father as the custodian of Meerlust in 1988, he was the estate’s 11th owner and represented the eighth generation of his family to preside over one of the Cape’s great estates.
Both time-honoured and modern techniques are applied to achieve the potential of the vineyards and soils, ensuring that each bottle bears the hallmark of Meerlust Estate wine. The wines are all made exclusively from grapes grown on the Estate. Today Rubicon, together with its select classic single-varietal stable mates cabernet sauvignon, merlot, pinot noir and chardonnay, are found in over 30 markets, from New York to Beijing.
Chris Mullineux, Mullineux: When we moved to the Swartland in 2007, the region was not known for fine wine, and we worked hard together with our friends Eben Sadie, Adi Badenhorst and Callie Louw (from Porseleinberg) to bring awareness to the region and the special wines it was producing. It's been incredible to be a part of this journey, and to see how fine wine lovers and collectors from all over the world have fallen in love with our wines. We had a very clear vision from the beginning and have been exceptionally focused on making what we believe are truly Great Wines. We work with special, and often extreme vineyard sites, planted to grape varieties suited to the climate and soils they grow. By farming and making the wines as naturally as possible we are able to bottle beautiful, fine wine that truly speaks of the special terroirs of the Swartland.
Albie Koch, de Toren: Since the first harvest of De Toren we have always been dedicated to produce quality over quantity. Our goal was to produce Bordeaux style blends that would be very competitive against the likes of the northern hemisphere wines. We have also achieved making consistent quality wines ever vintage ... this gave our customers the ease of mind to keep on buying the wines they love.
Your wines will be going on auction at the Strauss & Co on April 11 auction. Which do you believe is your most noteworthy that collectors should bid on?
ET, Meerlust: The Cabernet 1978 was the first wine produced by Giorgio Dalla Cia at Meerlust when the Bergkelder loaned Giorgio to Meerlust to supervise all the winemaking processes in the cellar during the 1978 season. Cabernet 1980, 1980 was a significant year for Meerlust as the estate swept the boards at the annual SA Championship Wine Show in every category it entered: champion red wine (cabernet sauvignon), champion new variety (Cabernet Franc), champion winemaker, and champion wine producer. The Cabernet 1980 is one to look out for. 1980 also saw the birth of the Meerlust Rubicon. Mark the Rubicon 2001 Magnums — the 2001 vintage won the coveted Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lande trophy for the best Bordeaux Blend at the International Wine & Spirits competition.
CM, Mullineux: We've taken a lot of care to only put lots forward that are special. Our sweet wines are made in small volumes and are very rare and highly awarded, so there is likely to be much focus on them — particularly the Olerasay. Our Granite and Schist Syrah's are equally difficult to find in the secondary market, and they only start to open up and reveal their true character after 7-10 years from Vintage. This is an ideal opportunity to secure some Granite or Schist Syrah direct from our cellar — as they're starting to show their potential.
Finally, we're really excited about our white wine lots on auction. The Granite Chenin is a classic expression of the textured, mineral wines of the Paardeberg; while the Schist Chenin is our rarest white wine — having only been bottled in three vintages to date. The 2013 is absolutely beautiful. The six vintage Vertical of our Old Vines white is also a rare opportunity to secure six different vintages of a single wine that is our truest expression of the Swartland region.
AK, de Toren: The magnum lots are always a highlight. Magnums has proven all over to be the best format to age wines for prolong times ... thus retaining freshness for longer. The 2001 would be the one I would go for. It was a stunning vintage.
• Q&A supplied by Strauss & Co.