Intellego new releases

By , 23 August 2023



It’s a comment that regular readers of this website have now heard often. “Conditions in 2022 were tricky,” says Jurgen Gouws who makes a variety of Swartland wines under his own Intellego label. “Acids dropped out due to heat and pHs went sky-high. It made me question my philosophy of minimal intervention. In the end, I decided to stick to my guns and didn’t add acidity”.

Out of his seven new releases, only four are from 2022, two are from 2023 and one from 2021 and they all have that trademark idiosyncratic but rather enjoyable character that Gouws typically bring to his wines. Tasting notes and ratings as follows:

Intellego Chenin Blanc 2022
Price: R235
From a Paardeberg vineyard planted in 2002 on granite. Matured in 2 500-litre foudre for 12 months. Pear, peach, apple plus traces of fynbos and earth on the nose. The palate is light-bodied with mild acidity and a slightly pithy quality to the finish. Alc: 13%.

CE’s rating: 90/100.

Intellego Elementis Chenin Blanc 2022
Price: R305
From an Abbotsdale vineyard planted in 1988 on alluvial soils. Fermented on the skins for 14 days before being matured in old 500-litre French oak barrels for 10 months. Very fragrant with note of potpourri, orange, peach and spice. The palate of this vintage has an intriguing structure being quite dense but not overly tannic, the acidity moderate. Perhaps not quite as arresting as usual but still full of flavour. Alc: 12%.

CE’s rating: 94/100.

Intellego The Sleeping Co-Pilot Viognier 2022
Price: R305
Gouws’s effort to re-imagine the variety and his most successful effort to date – growing conditions compelled him to pick early (grapes from a Kasteelsig vineyard on quartz) and the wine has an also less of the rusticity that this bottling can show, alcohol being just 10%. Entirely whole-bunch fermented and left on the skins for 10 days. Maturation as for Elementis. The nose shows floral perfume, dried herbs, peach and a faint terpene quality. The palate is lean with tangy acidity, the finish grippy but not astringent. Undoubtedly esoteric but not without pleasure for the more open-minded!

CE’s rating: 93/100.

Intellego The Pink Moustache 2023
Price: R170
48% Cinsaut, 35% Syrah, 17% Mourvèdre. The Cinsaut fermented for 4 days on the skins – whole bunch, the Syrah and Mourvedre pressed directly to barrel – is it a rosé or is it a “light red”? I don’t think Gouws knows but I don’t think he cares, either. Fuschia in colour, the nose shows raspberry, floral perfume and herbs while the palate is juicy and fresh with lightly grippy tannins. Hugely appealing but not inherently complex. Alc: 11.5%.

CE’s rating: 88/100.

Intellego Kedungu 2022
Price: R170
A cross-district blend: 46% Mourvèdre, 24% Cinsault, 18% and 12% Pinotage. Fermented whole-bunch under semi-carbonic conditions. Aged in old 228- and 500-litre barrels for 10 months. Cranberry, cherry and plum plus fynbos and a hint of white pepper and other spice on the nose. The palate is again light with pure fruit, vibrant acidity and powdery tannins. Gouws says it’s “Beaujolais inspired” and that makes sense – completely charming. Alc: 11.5%.

CE’s rating: 91/100.

Intellego Halagasha Pinotage 2023
Price: R235
Grapes from a Paardeberg vineyard on granite planted in the early 2000s. Whole-bunch fermented under semi carbonic conditions for seven days before maturation in old oak barrels for five months. Extremely primary aromatics at this stage – red-berry boiled sweets come to mind. The fruit is very much to the fore on the palate to go with snappy acidity, the finish quietly persistent. Alc: 12%.

CE’s rating: 90/100.

Intellego Syrah 2021
Price: R265
Grapes from a Paardeberg vineyard on granite. Fermented under semi carbonic conditions for 10 days on the stems before maturation lasting 10 months in old 500-litre oak barrels. Evocative aromatics of red and black berries, olive, earth, pepper and other spice. The palate has a certain compelling wildness about it – light but intricate with pure fruit, bright acidity and fine yet assertive tannins. Packs a flavour punch despite an alcohol of just 12%.

CE’s rating: 96/100.

Check out our South African wine ratings database.


5 comment(s)

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    PK | 24 August 2023

    For some reason the phrase carbonic maceration is deemed dirty and too Bojo, but like it or not whole-bunch involves carbonic maceration of some shape or form 🙂

    PK | 24 August 2023

    Yep, pretty much the same outcome and thing at the end of the day. There’s a lot of cross-over between the methods and depending on how long you leave it for and any contact or movement during this period, in both whole-bunch and semi-carbonic you get the similar outcome. It seems as though new wave’y alternative producers go with the ‘carbonic’ phrase, where the more conventional guys/girls sometimes chose to use whole-bunch phrase.

    The small part crush happens with the weight of the fruit in whole-bunch ferment as well, whether the producer likes it or not and the carbonic part happens inside each berry that is left intact. One of those much loved grey areas in winemaking. Kind of confirmed by the Halagasha Pinotage tech details/tasting notes ‘Whole-bunch fermented under semi carbonic conditions for seven days’…

    Either way, love the Intellego wines and a big fan of the method.

      Christian Eedes | 24 August 2023

      Interestingly enough, Andrea Mullineux is very specific that her winemaking involves “crushed whole-bunch” lest anybody think she would deign to use carbonic maceration…

    PK | 24 August 2023

    Semi-carbonic conditions, so basically whole-bunch???

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