Rosé revolution at Vergelegen wine estate
Vergelegen, the 321-year-old wine estate in Somerset West renowned for its award-winning wines, has launched its very first rosé, just in time for summer enjoyment.
A lovely rose-gold colour, with a long, dewy aftertaste, the wine is named ‘Florence’ after Florence, Lady Phillips, chatelaine of the glorious estate from 1917-1941.
The label on the curvaceous, blushing bottle has an equally feminine touch. It sports a sprig of pale pink camellias, both buds and full blooms, referencing the estate’s status as the home of one of only two International Camellia Gardens of Excellence in the Southern Hemisphere.
Lady Phillips, a noted hostess and arts patron, acquired the estate when it had become sadly neglected. It was described as “almost an uninhabitable ruin”.
Consulting with Percy Walgate, an architect of the Herbert Baker school, she transformed Vergelegen over five years into a glorious architectural and horticultural treasure. She was also instrumental in founding the Johannesburg Art Gallery and the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, among other heritage and horticultural destinations.
Under the new Vergelegen management of MD Wayne Coetzer, together with André van Rensburg, long-established winemaker since 1998, the two developed the concept of creating a wine that would be innovative and exciting for the grand old estate, and would rival the best rosés in the world.
The grapes were selected from Vergelegen’s Stonepine vineyards (Malbec) and Rooiland vineyards (Shiraz). They were hand-picked and whole bunch-pressed to limit colour and phenolic extraction, says van Rensburg. (Chemical compounds that affect the taste, color and mouthfeel of wine.)
“The grapes were very carefully pressed until a recovery of around 500 L/ton. After that you have to press too hard and the juice becomes too dark and phenolic.”
Van Rensburg also insisted on the grape juice being stored for 24 hours at 10˚C, which lowered the colour phenolic content to reach the perfect hue. It was cold fermented and stored for two weeks before stabilisation and bottling.
“The trick was to attain the perfect colour that would enhance the wine’s appeal, and complement the pink colour of the camellia garden blooms,” notes Coetzer. “I call it ‘the first of the summer wine’, although it is suitable for all seasons and occasions, and is enjoyed by men and women.”
Florence rosé costs R120/bottle and is currently available only from the estate. It is ready for drinking now and should be served well chilled at 8-10 °C.
Says Coetzer, “Fresh and fruity rosé wine is well-known for being incredibly food-friendly as it pairs well with so many dishes. For the best enjoyment of this extraordinary wine, share it with the ‘Florrie’ in your life. Cheers!”
To book a wine tasting or to purchase wine: Vergelegen Wine Tasting Centre is open Monday-Sunday 09h00 -17h00. Last wine tastings at 16:30 (with last entry to the estate 16:00pm) Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 021 847 2122.