One of the amazing (and beautiful) things about wine is that the same grape made in two different places can taste totally different. In a world where food and drink are increasingly standardised and homogenised, products with provenance and uniqueness should be absolutely celebrated.
And that’s exactly what Wade Metzer is trying to achieve in his corner of the world, the up-and-coming region of Helderberg near Stellenbosch.
It lies 45 minutes south-east of Cape Town, between the towering Helderberg Mountains and beautiful False Bay.
These extreme features have a big impact on the wines. The ‘South Easter’ wind blows through 300 days a year, keeping the vines cool, dry and healthy. And the vineyards sit on the slopes of the mountains, with the ideal aspect to capture sunshine and a mix of ancient soils, both of which contribute to rich, complex flavours in the grapes.
My good friend Johan Kruger introduced us - they did a harvest together at Jordan Winery in 2003. Johan said he was struck by Wade’s passion and talent at the time… and his incredible focus.
This laser-focus on Helderberg has served him well - becoming one of the most respected winemakers in South Africa for Chenin Blanc.
And as much as I loved his Chenin Blanc, I was really after reds and his Cabernet Sauvignon was exactly what I was looking for.