BOUTIQUE Stellenbosch winery Clos Malverne is a great example of how tradition and innovation combine in wine-making – from the ancient basket-pressing method used for all their red wines, through to an icecream-and-wine pairing menu and an unusual shiraz bubbly.
Developed by the ancient Greeks and Romans, and perfected by the French, basket-pressing is gentler on the grapes and gives the winemaker more control over the process, resulting in softer wines with delicate tannins.
Clos Malverne winemaker Suzanne Coetzee says the family-owned winery’s focus is on “the traditional, the small and handmade, keeping everything simple so that we can do it all in-house with a small team where we’re all part of the family”.
“We have a lot of long-standing customers who buy from us direct, and we pride ourselves on those relationships. We keep up correspondence with our customers, and they love sharing their stories with us,” she says.
Many of those are customers who have personally invested in the winery through its clever debenture scheme. Clos Malverne invites customers to invest a modest sum which they receive back after five years, with the “interest” paid in regular delivery of specially-made reserve, numbered “debenture wines”.
Released last year, the Ellie MCC is one of only a handful of local bubblies made from shiraz – the result of Coetzee wanting to try something new – and a “nothing to lose” approach as she had a block of shiraz going begging.
Clos Malverne specialises in red wines, and especially Cape blends – from the full-bodied flagship Auret, a pinotage-merlot blend that has rich earthy depth, to the deliciously ripe, plummy, spicy pinotage reserve. All very drinkable now and even better with age.
They also make a juicy, tropical sauvignon blanc and a lovely lightly-wooded chardonnay with subtle oak, vanilla and citrus flavours.
Coetzee recently helped her aunt, dynamic PE entrepreneur Mimi Rupp, raise more than a total of R70000 for Khayalethu Youth Centre with an art and wine auction – and has promised to return to do the same next year.
– A Vine Time, with Sam Venter