Neethlingshof 2009 Owl Post Pinotage ranked amongst SA's top 100 wines

The 2009 vintage of Neethlinghof's limited-edition Short Story Collection The Owl Post Pinotage has been named one of South Africa's top 100 wines by the selection panel of the inaugural 2011 Top 100 SA Wines collection.
The idea of assembling the country’s top wines to highlight South African wine excellence while providing an authoritative reference point for winelovers globally was conceived by local entrepreneur Robin von Holdt. His evaluation panel of high-profile palates was chaired by British wine critic Tim Atkin (MW) and included Greg Sherwood (MW) and Jamie Goode, also based in the UK, as well as Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan (MW) from the US, Sam Harrop (MW) from New Zealand and South African Cathy van Zyl (MW). Others on the panel were local winemakers Duncan Savage of Cape Point Vineyards, Richard Kershaw of Mulderbosch, and internationally trained sommelier Guy Harcourt-Wood, now a member of the Great Domaines team.

Those wines to make it into the line-up are featured in the first edition of the Top 100 SA Wines consumer guide together with tasting and cellaring notes.

Powerful but lithe and restrained, The Owl Post is produced from a single dryland vineyard, sited 120 metres above sea level on north-westerly-facing slopes. Yielding just 6 tons per hectare, its vines planted in 1997, have reached full maturity to produce fruit of exceptional flavour concentration.

The wine was aged in a combination of Hungarian and American oak for 14 months, with its rich and full-fruited cherry and berry notes balanced by firm tannins, says winemaker De Wet Viljoen. “We’ve tamed the intensity of fruit with careful wooding for balance and elegance.”

Viljoen has a special affinity for the indigenous varietal and is deputy chairman of the Pinotage Association.”It is a tremendous source of pride to see Pinotage featured in the collection.”

The Owl Post takes its name from the owl posts strategically dotted around the vineyards of the Stellenbosch estate and that form part of its integrated pest management programme. As part of its promotion of sustainability and conservation programme, Neethlingshof, a member of the Biodiversity & Wine Initiative (BWI) has reintroduced indigenous vegetation to the land, with caracals and other fauna returning to the land.

Locally, the wine retails for around R137 a bottle and is offered by stockists nationally.