Thelema hosted a tasting of its Thelema and Sutherland brand wines for hotel and restaurant staff as well as writers at Dear Me in the city centre yesterday. At the tasting it was announced that a Thelema MCC will be launched later this year.
We were welcomed with a glass of 1994 MCC, a once-off production, which had been made for a family wedding. It was disgorged three years ago. Thelema was bought by Gyles Webb in 1983, then a 157 ha fruit farm. It is one of the highest and coolest wine estates in the area. The first wines were produced in 1988. The Thelema Family Trust bought the 100 ha Sutherland farm in Elgin in 2002, and half of the apple orchards were replaced with vines. The Sutherland wines are slower to ripen, being grown in the cooler climate Elgin, have more minerality, are more approachable, and can be drunk sooner. They are made at Thelema’s cellar in Stellenbosch. Rudi Schultz has been the winemaker since 2000, with Webb the Cellarmaster. Thelema is particularly well-known for its Cabernet Sauvignon.
Three tables offered tastings of wines:
* Thelema’s current vintages of Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (R75), Chardonnay 2012 (R110), Rhine Riesling 2011 (R65), Muscat de Frontignan 2013 (R55), Mountain Red 2011 (R65), Merlot 2010 (15% alcohol, full bodied, black currant, R130), Merlot Reserve 2010 (R225), Shiraz 2011 (18 months in French oak, 15 % alcohol, spicy and peppery, R130), Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (R185), and The Mint Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (R225).
* Sutherland’s current vintages of Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (R70), Chardonnay 2011 (R90), Viognier-Roussanne 2011 (R90), Rhine Riesling 2012 (R65), Pinot Noir 2012 (R110), Syrah 2009 (with fynbos on the nose, 18 months in the barrel, lean, and more delicate, R100), and Cabernet Sauvignon Petit Verdot 2010 (a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Petit Verdot, R100).
* Vintage Thelema wines, which included a 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon (very limited stock, R332.26 per bottle): Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 (R249,63); Riesling 2009 (R60,50); Chardonnay 2006 (R150,58); and an excellent 2007 Shiraz, which won Best Red Wine at the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show in 2011 (R146,41).
Thelema Mountain Vineyards, Helshoogte Pass, Stellenbosch. Tel (021) 885-1924. www.thelema.co.za Twitter: @ThelemaWines
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage