New Springfield albariño wine sells out

Robertson's Bruwer family are producing experimental vintages with interesting stories

Among the many things the Bruwer family of Springfield Estate in Robertson are really good at, are producing wine with interesting stories, and creating a cult following for their wines.

Their brand-new addition, albariño (pronounced “alba-reen-yo”), certainly has the former and as for the latter, the wine has fast gained a devoted fan-base who, if they are smart, are probably already lining up to secure their orders for the next vintage.

Launched in early February with little fanfare, the 600 cases they produced as an experimental vintage, sold out from the cellar in just five days.

Fortunately, some of those cases have found their way to the Eastern Cape where, if you’re lucky enough, you may find Springfield Albariño 2018 on a restaurant or game lodge wine list, or on the shelves at Preston’s in Main Road, Walmer (R129.99) – the only local retail stockist.

So, what’s all the fuss about?

Marketing manager Jenna Bruwer tells the story: “On holiday in Uruguay, as we waited for our room to be readied in a small rural town, we asked if there was any cold wine available. A bottle was produced from the back room, and much to our surprise, the wine we drank that afternoon in a dusty small town in South America, was a revelation.

“Complex, rich in texture yet with an acidity that had our palates dancing, our first taste of albariño was an unforgettable one.”

Winemaker Abrie Bruwer had to get his hands on this “magical grape” and, as luck would have it, the Newton Johnson family of Hemel-en-Aarde were on a similar quest and offered Abrie cuttings from vines they had recently imported and planted.

These were nurtured and multiplied over the next three years into a single vineyard block that produced this maiden vintage, and the Bruwers are on a mission to expand the vineyard and keep sharing their “holiday wine”, with the 2019 harvest already in and expected to produce a little more this time around.

Although not quite a “first” for SA, since Newton Johnson have produced about three vintages and Nederburg have recently added an albariño to their Winemaster’s Reserve range (and also use it in their Ingenuity white blend), neither of these seem to be as widely available as Springfield plans to be.

Albariño is a fairly light-bodied white that grows mostly in Spain and Portugal. It’s loved for its high acidity and dry palate with citrus flavours and subtle saltiness, and is an absolute seafood lovers’ delight alongside fried calamari, prawns, seafood pasta or fish tacos, says Jenna.

The wine is gently fragrant with white blossoms, its racy, mineral ocean tang and a gentle “bite” of acid cutting through the richness and texture of citrus, nectarines and sweet-sour apricots.

It’s really refreshing on its own, great with spicy, crispy shellfish, and something so different – and delicious – that all that’s left to say is: “Wine lovers, get your boots on now and go try this!”