Highest praise for boutique cellar

Hout Bay Vineyards Petrus 2013 vintage received 4.5 stars in the Platters Wine Guide.

One of the highest honours in South African viticulture has been awarded to Hout Bay Vineyards after the 2013 vintage of its flagship red wine, Petrus, received 4.5 stars on the prestigious Platters Wine Guide.

Platters is the most definitive wine guide in the country and has been rating South African wines for decades.

As per the guide, “All wines that score 4.5 stars and up in the primary (sighted) tasting have been re-tasted in a taste-off where small panels of experts assess these wines in an unsighted tasting.

“The highest rated wines have therefore undergone multiple rounds of stringent tasting and are truly exceptional wines.”

The Hout Bay Vineyards 2013 Petrus scored 94 points, missing out on 5 stars by a single point.

Petrus is a Shiraz-driven, Rhone-style blend using other cultivars such as Mouvedre, Carrignan, Grenache Noir and Cinsaut.

Depending on the year, Viognier also manages to sneak into the blend every so often.

The Shiraz and Viognier are grown in Hout Bay while the other grapes are sourced in Wellington and then processed in the cellar which is situated high up on the rocky slopes of Skoorsteenskop.

Hout Bay Vineyards owners Peter and Cathy Roeloffze started living their passion some 14 years ago when they bought the vacant piece of land at the top of Meadows.

They believe that the success of their wines is due to their simple philosophy of “balance”.

“From the vine to the bottle, we aim for balance. In the vineyard we try to maintain a balance between farming and nature. We are not strictly organic, but we work with the most environmentally friendly products we can source to protect the vines from fungus and disease. We never spray insecticides, the couple said. In the past, the winemakers have released ladybirds to combat aphids and mealybugs, and at present are looking to erect bat boxes in the vineyards.

“Bats are very effective at controlling infestations of flying insects that may occur without causing harm to the surroundings.

“When harvesting, we hand-pick and then sort the grapes, removing the undesirable berries, and return all spiders and snails to their habitat.

“Once in the cellar, we are always careful to maintain the balance between fruit and wood. Large 500-litre French oak barrels assist in this regard as they offer a smaller surface area of wine to wood, ensuring a gentler maturation and wooding process.

“The barrel must respect the fruit,” Peter said.