"I know this is a more lengthy release than usual, but this is one story that needs to be told in detail - it’s one of those that, looking back, I can just shake my head in disbelief at how it turned out.
Manon des Sources - a 2010 (yes a 9 year old!) bottle aged white blend of Weisser Riesling, Sémillon and Sauvignon blanc
In the Elgin Valley, as a passion project, the owner of a mainly fruit farm planted 3 vineyards - Weisser Riesling Sémillon and Sauvignon blanc.
In 2012 I took over the grapes from the previous buyer and made my DOC - a white blend of Weisser Riesling, Sémillon and Sauvignon blanc - a wine which represents this little mountainous outcrop. The soil varies immensely from reddish sandstone to granite and clay.
After bottling my version (DOC 2012) the owner of the farm asked me if I could bottle a version of the same wine for him for his private consumption or to sell to his friends. Fast forward 7 years and he never got round to selling a bottle. So I bought it all back. I released it and it sold out in a flash. I mean, where do you find a 7-year old bottle-aged white from South Africa? Andre then told me that he had more. The previous buyer of the grapes had also made a white blend for him. A 2010! A dense, rich but fresh 9 year old white wine. What an experience! To taste a 2010 Weisser Riesling blend from South Africa is priceless.
“But isn't it way too risky to name a wine Manon des Sources?” my wife asked me. Of course she was right. It’s a brand name owned by somebody somewhere, but the chances of me, here at the tip of Africa with a small batch of wine registering on their radar was very slim. So slim that I was willing to take the risk…
Manon des Sources (Manon of the Spring) is a 1966 two-volume novel by Marcel Pagnol and tells the story of a lady living in a small village on the outskirts of Marseille. It's a very famous story and they subsequently made 2 films about the book. I would never have known about the book if it wasn’t for my Swiss friend, Eric, who started calling our daughter, Alexa, Manon des Sources.
Alexa and the main character looked so alike: you see, for the first six years of Alexa’s life she did not like to have any fabric in contact with her skin. So my mother-in-law started making these long dresses of very thin soft material. She would wear one dress for about 6 months (day and night), then some nights she’d allow us to wash it and we had to make sure it’s ready for the next morning. Once that particular dress was completely worn out, full of holes, we had to get her into a new one - which was a nightmare to adjust to. She also never combed her hair and never wore shoes. In short: Alexa looked exactly like the lead actress in Manon des Sources.
After this particular wine had been bottled, it was Alexa’s turn to design a label (they all get a turn to design a label and I pay them per bottle sold) and she subsequently made a self-sketch with her in her dress and wild hair flying all over. The name of the wine could not have been anything other than Manon des Sources." Producer's note