Elim Wine Festival – 2016
October 26, 2016
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August 22, 2017
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Extreme growing conditions no obstacle for ‘wines with altitude’


Article from A VINE TIME by Sam Venter
WINEMAKER David Nieuwoudt seems to be a man who likes extremes. Not content with making wine at South Africa’s highest vineyards in the rugged Cederberg mountains and in the most southerly in Elim near Cape Agulhas, he also travels half-way around the world to make wine at the foot of the Andes in Chile.
The outcome of Nieuwoudt’s adventures is a suite of cool-climate wines, each range distinguished by its particular location, making for interesting comparisons between the different expressions of “cool climate”.
Cederberg’s ‘wines with altitude’ come from vineyards 1000m above sea-level on the family farm Dwarsrivier where Nieuwoudt is the fifth generation to farm in the harsh, dry mountain terrain with extreme winters. Unlike most other cool-climate areas, Cederberg is too far from the sea to have a coastal influence.
The Ghost Corner range on the other hand, is all about the sea – from its wild maritime location in Elim just 20km from the southern tip of Africa, to the name that’s a reminder of the more than 130 ships that have found their last resting place in the treacherous waters off Cape Agulhas.
Altitude and maritime influence come together in Longavi, Nieuwoudt’s partnership with Chilean producer Julio Bouchon, growing and making wines in Chile’s mountainous Leyda Valley where daytime temperatures are regulated by the Pacific Ocean just 8km to the west and the grapes are cooled at night by the chilly air flowing down from the snow-capped Andes to the east.
The only thing uniform about the three ranges is their excellence. Red ink indicating 4.5 and 5 star ratings dominates the Platter’s entry for Cederberg and Ghost Corner, and the few that didn’t make that cut are uniformly 4-starred.
The awards table is lengthy – as an illustration, take a look at last October when in the space of under two weeks, the Cederberg and Ghost Corner wines brought home a Gran d’Or award, platinum, gold and two silver medals from the Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards. That was closely followed by Cederberg Shiraz 2014 taking the Best New World Shiraz trophy at the Six Nations Wine Challenge in Australia and back home a Veritas double gold each for the Ghost Corner and Longavi sauvignon blancs.
The Longavi Sauvignon is rich and flavourful, intense and savoury with some tropical notes, balanced with a streak of mineral tang and a subtle, silky mouth feel to lingering finish – a really special and different experience.
The Longavi Cabernet Sauvingon, a 2013 released last year, is equally special – rich and intense, inky-dark and full-bodied with ripe fruit and a velvety finish.
While Longavi wines are available to local readers only online via the Cederberg Wines website (www.cederbergwine.com), Preston’s Main Road Walmer have a wide selection of the Cederberg and Ghost Corner ranges. It’s hard to pick a favourite, but the Cederberg Shiraz is always a winner, and Ghost Corner the Bowline is a beautifully balanced, rich and zesty, blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.

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