South Africa

The redoubtable David Nieuwoudt took over the Cederberg estate from his father in 1997.

We first visited David in 2003, when he was in the midst of his planting programme, and have worked with him ever since then.

The Cederberg vineyards here are 1100-1150 metres up in the Cederberg mountains, most of them on dramatic shale slopes. Good natural rainfall, around 550-600mm, cool temperatures (occasionally there are snow-showers in winter), with plenty of wind, mean that Cederberg enjoys a near perfect climate, in particular a long ripening period.

The whites are mountain-fresh, with plentiful natural acidity, and carefully crafted using reductive winemaking to preserve that brightness of fruit. In recent years we have also shipped more of David’s impressively concentrated and well-oaked reds.

David is a restless perfectionist. In pursuit of new projects he has bought land in windswept Elim (see below) in the far south of the country on slate and granitic soils: from there tons of Ghost Corner grapes are trucked up to the state of the art winery at Cederberg.

On the side he also makes wine in Chile. But just as important is his fine tuning of the vineyards at Cederberg.  Old blocks are being ripped out, replanted with the right vines (on, vitally, the right acid-tolerant rootstocks) in the right sites: Sauvignon Blanc on sandstone, Syrah on schist and Cabernet on clay.

The rows are being subtly realigned by 8 degrees; and he has made the aesthetically pleasing but costly decision to take down the baboon fences on his isolated parcels, instead employing staff to keep them away. Here are wines made by a very focussed winemaker at the peak of his game.

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