Fruits of their vision: two magicians who make alchemy with ...

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Fruits of their vision: two magicians who make alchemy with grapes

Their approach is as much a reflection of winemaking philosophy as a story about time in the vineyard

Michael Fridjhon

The Year of the Plague has not been conducive to much direct engagement with winemakers. Lockdown meant that for many months only essential travel between the Cape and the rest of the country was permitted, while the liquor sales prohibition made even the transportation of samples problematic.

Catching up the lost months has taken time. A direct engagement is worth any number of webinar hours. No discussion is required to taste what a producer has achieved in his vineyards and cellars: the conversation is more about where they think they’re going and to discover whether the end game is driven primarily by an aesthetic vision or by commercial pragmatism.

So it was particularly useful last week to meet up with two winemakers who embody the message their wines are meant to convey and whose approach is as much a reflection of winemaking philosophy as a story about time in the vineyard. First up was Paul Gerber, who occupies the chef de caves position at Franschhoek’s Colmant, the specialist Cap Classique cellar built by and imbued with the vision of Jean-Philippe Colmant. Gerber has probably spent more time in the production cellars of Champagne than any other SA producer...

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