The area of Stellenbosch, because of its diverse variety of terroir, has fondly become known in South Africa as the ‘Kingdom of Cabernet’. Due its array of soil types, which amounts to as many 50 different types, winemakers in this region have been able to produce some of South Africa’s top Cabernet examples.
The Stellenbosch region is made up of several different soil types predominantly a mix of red and yellow-brown Tukulu and Oakleaf soils, as well as structured Swartland, Klapmuts and duplex Kroonstad soils. They are acidic with decomposed granite in the mountainside vineyards and alluvial soils on clay bases in the valleys. The Stellenbosch soils, at altitudes of 150-400m are on steep slopes and are relics of a high rainfall, tropical area from millions of years ago.
The soils in this region are well drained and are comparatively able to retain the right amount of water needed for the vines to thrive. These factors make for an ideal medium in which to grow Cabernet. This varietal does not do well in soils that absorb and retain water- fondly known as “wet feet” syndrome by the viticulturists. The heat retaining capacity of the warm soils in Stellenbosch are also of paramount importance as temperature plays an important role in ripening the grapes. While Cabernet is definitely produced using a wide variety of soils, it has been said that many people enjoy the minerality of Cabernets produced from the more granite based mountainous areas in Stellenbosch.
The soils in this region, among other factors, have allowed winemakers to produce Cabernet in a uniquely African way. Although South Africa is classified as a New World wine producer, stylistically the wines have an old world character; they are more austere, with dry tannins and a slightly herbaceous character. Our quest is to retain our African-heritage and produce our very own style of wines.
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