Franschhoek, South Africa

Martin Smiht, Paserene

This year saw our first visit to Paserene, a moderately new winery with an elegant tasting room located just outside of Franschhoek.

Owned by winemaker Martin Smith and industrialist Ndabe Mareda, the winery takes its name from the Latin word Passeriformes, the order of fast and free birds that includes swifts and swallows, birds that make the epic migration from Europe to South Africa.

The name pays homage to the many years that Smith spent working two harvests a year as a winemaker in both South Africa and Europe.

Martin is a self-confessed Cabernet Sauvignon junkie: the wine we loved here was his deeply coloured Midnight Cab – and we have taken the entire UK allocation of the 2018 vintage.

The fruit is sourced from Tulbagh, in the shadow of the mighty Witzenberg mountain. Martin sees great potential for Cabernet here and has planted vines on an untouched piece of land in this surprisingly cool site, farmed organically, even without a tractor.

Conditions are tough in these thin and scaly soils, yields are small, and those give the wine its intensity and depth of flavour.

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