In 2005, Dana Buys of Vrede en Lust in Paarl purchased Casey’s Ridge, a 90ha property in the south-western part of Elgin. 60ha of apple came out and over 40ha of vineyard went in, the thinking being that this cool climate location would be perfect for those varieties that don’t do as well in warm Paarl. But what happens if you make wines traditionally associated with warmer climates from cool climate vineyards?
Buys and winemaker Susan Erasmus have made some small-volume experimental wines from Casey’s Ridge grapes under the so-calle Artisan Range label and one of them is a Chenin Blanc-Chardonnay-Viognier blend from the 2010.
Whereas Chenin Blanc-driven blends are very much associated with the Swartland and Voor Paardeberg, where such wines are typically rich and full and deliberately oxidative, what Vrede en Lust have ended up with is altogether more medium bodied and fresh.
Because of the cool-climate growing conditions, the wine’s flavour profile is not as flamboyant as some. There are notes of lime rather than lemon, white rather than yellow peach. The wine perhaps lacks a little fruit concentration but this will no doubt improve as Buys and co. become more familiar with their vineyards. In any event, you suspect that the wines from this property will always be more about poise and intricacy. Score: 16/20.