Mother Nature may not always be gentle, but it is often under these tough conditions that most beautiful fruit is created. A perfect example of this is Perdeberg’s award-winning Dry Land Collection of ultra-premium wines, which brings this truth to life.
Made from grapes cultivated in vineyards that receive little to no irrigation, also known as ‘dryland’ vineyards, the collection showcases the uniqueness of wines grown in this terroir using age-old traditions. “We want to create wines that are true to this environment,” explains Perdeberg cellarmaster Albertus Louw. “We want to allow the wine to express where it comes from.”
Expanding on the Paarl cellar’s 80-year history of winemaking excellence, the Dry Land Collection selects grapes from older vines and bush vines, planted in the best soils where they would be sustainable with seasonal rainfall as the main water source. “We try to do things as naturally as possible, with the least intervention,” explains Louw. The variation of weather, soil, drainage and altitude from vineyard to vineyard enables Perdeberg to produce a wide range of wines with distinct qualities and character.
Without irrigation, dry land crops weigh less, with smaller bunches and smaller berries that need to be picked by hand. There is sweet reward for enduring these tough conditions, however: “Most of the flavour is just under the skin, so with less juice and more skin, you get higher flavour concentration,” says Louw. Intensive vineyard management, including using cover crops for water retention and natural pest control (with no chemical pesticides), protects the vine and ensures the ecosystem is in balance, with the wine as the hero.
The Dry Land Collection appeals to enthusiasts who understand and appreciate natural winemaking processes, and who will enjoy sharing these expressions with others at elegant dinners and special occasions. The collection boasts well-balanced wines with complexity and concentration, but also generous drinkability. Value is also a consideration, says Louw: “We really want to try overdeliver on quality for these price points.”
Each wine in the range holds a symbolic name that shares a characteristic of its source. The labels of Courageous Old Vine Barrel Fermented Chenin, Resolve Pinotage, Tenacious Shiraz, Conqueror Cabernet Sauvignon and Longevity Natural Sweet Chenin are testament to the endurance of these vineyards. Paying tribute to the masters who have contributed to Perdeberg’s wine-making history, the collection is completed by Roussouw’s Heritage white blend, named after Perdeberg Cellar founder Jan Roussouw, and Joseph’s Legacy red blend, after Joseph Huskisson, Perdeberg’s first full-time winemaker who pioneered new technologies in SA winemaking in the 1950s.
The Courageous OLD VINE Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2021 showcases aromas of citrus, pear, peach and pineapple. The palate boasts hints of citrus, litchi and vanilla, while the finish is crisp with a well-defined acidity. Perfect on its own or served with seafood dishes, fragrant chicken curry and rich cheeses.
It’s a known fact that Pinotage vineyards flourish under dryland conditions, and the Resolve Pinotage 2019 is no exception. In fact, it’s the perfect example of what a Pinotage should be. The dark colour, explicit aromatics and juicy structure of this wine is a testament to this traditional way of grape farming. Pairs beautifully with a seared tuna steak, lamb tikka masala or glazed pork ribs.
A modern-day Shiraz, the Tenacious Shiraz 2018 is a fine example of wine made under dryland conditions. As is the case when using small berries, this wine shows a voluptuous bouquet and a rich aftertaste, leaving you with much food for thought. The nose is spicy with nuances of white pepper, cloves, fresh tobacco and violets. On the palate you get tones of mulberries, cherries and fynbos, while the structure is broad with delicate tannins and a fresh aftermath. This stellar wine also pairs perfectly with a seared tuna steak, lamb tikka masala or glazed pork ribs.
The Conqueror Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 is a true reflection of a modern day Cab, showing typical cultivar characteristics with perfumed aromas. On the nose you’ll find hints of prune, blackberry, blueberry and vanilla, while the palate is structured with soft tannins that end in a long finish. Best enjoyed on cold wintry nights in front of the fireplace or with friends whilst tucking into a hearty oxtail casserole, ostrich steak or beef korma.
The Longevity Natural Sweet Chenin Blanc 2018 is an exceptional example of the diversity of Chenin Blanc. With its appealing deep gold colour, enticing aromas and vibrant mouthfeel, this wine is made to please all of the wine senses. Enjoy with your dessert or pair with sticky sweet koeksisters, mature cheeses or any other sweet treats.
The Roussouw’s Heritage 2019 white blend reflects the power of diversity shouldering up together to create something beautiful. Fragrant citrus, passion fruit, litchi and white pear is evident on the nose. The palate is rich with vanilla and ends with a crisp acidity, making it pair well with grilled line fish, pasta or chicken.
Completing the range is the Joseph’s Legacy 2019 red blend which delivers prominent black pepper, cedar, biltong spice, cherry, plum and vanilla notes on the nose. The palate is structured and bold with layered tones of cloves, spice, coriander and chocolate icing. Over time complexity will increase and aromas are expected to become spicier, leathery with hints of cigar smoke. This wine pairs well with flame grilled rump steak, spicy venison and beef casserole or braaied skilpadjies.
Made in a new-world style, the Dry Land Collection retails for between R135 and R165 per bottle, available directly off the farm or from most specialist wine stores nationwide.