The why, the what and the how of...
Keermont Vineyards aim to create wines that reflect the beautiful place in which their vines grow and each year’s particular growing conditions. For this reason, they endeavour to use minimal chemical fertilizers and pesticides and to irrigate as little as possible. The goal is to achieve natural, well-balanced vineyards that ultimately yield better quality wines. Only Keermont estate-grown grapes are used to make their wines.
In 2003 the Wraith family bought two adjacent farms which today make up Keermont Vineyards. Since 2005, winemaker Alex Starey has been entrusted with coaxing everything possible out of the 27 hectares of vineyards on the farm.
The farm is blessed with some very special and unique vineyard sites. It is situated high up in the picturesque Blaauwklippen Valley, otherwise known as Paradyskloof (Paradise Valley). The Blaauwklippen River, which bisects the farm, is also the boundary between the Helderberg and the Stellenbosch Mountain Ranges. This means that some of the vineyards are on the warmer north-facing Helderberg slopes and others on the cooler west-facing Stellenbosch range. Due to the steepness of the terrain, the altitude climbs 200m within the 1.7km length of the farm and the vineyards are planted between 250m and 400m above sea level. Thus, the vines planted over these different terrains ultimately produce wines with good complexity and a variety of flavours. In addition, just over the Helderberg mountains, False Bay and the Indian Ocean lie just 12.5km from the farm, which also contributes to the local climate.
The flagship range is made up of a solitary white, the Terrasse, which derives its name from the terraced vineyards on Keermont. This is a blend built around Chenin Blanc from a 48 year old un-irrigated vineyard called Riverside, and this is complimented by Chenin from two younger vineyards and varying fractions of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier. On the reds, there is a straight Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon and then the top-end Estate Reserve. This wine spends 24 months maturing in seasoned French oak barriques before being bottled by hand without filtration. It is then bottle aged in the estate cellar for 36 months before being released. Lastly, there is the magnificent sweet wine, the Fleurfontein which is named after a beautiful spring on the farm near the Sauvignon blanc vineyard from which the grapes are sourced. Raisins are produced by pinching the stem of the grape bunches while they ripen on the vine. The pressed juice is fermented in Hungarian and French oak barrels and is left to mature for 18 months. The production of this wine is very small.
Keermont also produces a Single Vineyard Series which was created to highlight the unique quality and character of the wines produced from particular vineyard parcels on the farm. These parcels have been registered as Single Vineyards with the South African Wine Industry Information & Systems NPC (SAWIS). There are four wines: Riverside Chenin Blanc, Steepside Syrah, Topside Syrah and Pondokrug Cabernet Franc. The wines are not necessarily made each vintage and production remains small.
The Blaauklippen Valley in Stellenbosch is home to some extremely fine growers…it is Keermont that has its nose just in front. Winemaker and surf-addict Alex Starey is certainly talented and has taken the estate to new heights in recent years…” – Neal Martin for Vinous