2 years ago, pre pandemic, I dedicated the month of August to celebrating women winemakers.
I made a list, I checked it twice...nobody was naughty and everyone was nice. There were two winemakers on the list that I wasn’t able to source. And one of them was Cecilia Wines, made by Cerina van Niekerk.
People think I’m passionate about wine. But it’s music that’s defined who I am since the age of 5. So I was instantly drawn to the labels of the Cecilia Wines...and then I found out that both the Cecilia and entry level Wind Band wines fund a non profit community music project for kids in Citrusdal!
Uhm...the MW drives me nuts, but he also comes with some perks...and I nervously tasted these wines for him. These were my favourites:
Wind Band Wah-Wah
A perfumed white blend of Chenin (85%), Viognier (10%) and Chardonnay (5%).
Very pretty and aromatic nose of peaches, grass, perfumed musky jasmine florals , faint nutmeg, traces of fresh fennel bulb, and lime peel or grapefruit.
I’m convinced there’s sweetness…but it’s probably still within the range of dry. Medium+ acidity and light bodied making it perfect for summer sipping. The palate is similar to the nose but expands to ripe nectarines, melon, salty lemony honey that opens up to show subtle musky baking spice. A medium finish that ends in lemon peel.
It’s a lovely wine that isn’t too astringent. It starts off fresh and pretty in the beginning, and you want to take another sip. Keep your eye on the temperature - this offers much more when it's not too chilled.
Wind Band Pastiche Rosé 2020
Pale salmon with a pronounced (at room temperature) nose of strawberries, ripe cherries, nectarines and some lemon.
Again, this is probably within the range of dry. High acidity and light bodied with the palate echoing the nose, with the addition of subtle spices on the finish.
It’s a perfectly lovely rosé. It’s much brighter than the Wah-Wah.
80% Mourvédre + 20% Grenache.
Cecilia Wines Chenin Blanc 2020:
Pale gold with a inviting medium nose of honey, caramel, hay, dill, and apricots.
Dry, medium bodied, medium+ acidity, with more citrus on the palate than what’s suggested by the nose. Tart sweet apricots, burnt sugar and radicchio bitterness that fades into salty apricot. I wish it was just a touch brighter...but it’s very elegant and could stand up to a heavier dinner. A medium finish that had me reaching for another sip.
Made from low yielding bush vines that were planted, ungrafted, in 1962 on the 620 metre elevation Piekenierskloof plateau in sandy loam soils.
"The vines are ungrafted and were part of a recent research study by Interloire in France, which showed that some of our old Chenins are selections that are already extinct in France. This particular vineyard tested negative for some of the common viruses present in South African vineyards, proof of exceptional planting material."
Cecilia Wines Pinotage 2019:
A lovely balance between serious and playful. Deep ruby with a medium nose of cherries, cranberries, mulberries, lilies, tar, bay leaves, touch of black pepper, cloves, oyster sauce, new leather, guava peel and Chinese 5 spice. Savoury, with a long herbal finish.
Dry, full bodied, high acidity, prominent medium+ tannins that are soft and furry but present. Despite all those delicious berries, I found this more savoury than anything else...with a long herbal finish.
I like it. I liked it at room temp and after being chilled overnight. It’s one of my favourites in this box. It’s that in-between Pinotage that’s not too serious, but not too playful. I didn’t even think about whether there was oak or not.
Made from 30 to 50 year old, low yielding bush vines located on the northern edge of the Skurfberg plateau in the Olifant’s River at 400 metres altitude.
Cecilia Wines Syrah 2019:
An earthy and spicy Syrah that shows blueberries, beetroot, earth, pepper, cherries, and blackberries.
Dry, medium+ body, and smooth medium tannins that give the wine a plushness and roundness. The palate mimics the nose with that addition of fynbos to deliver a medium finish.
I would happily drink this any day.
The Syrah vineyards are located close to Darling approximately 20 kilometres from Atlantic Ocean, and planted on deep, red loam soils that are derived from granite.
If you’ve ever played an instrument, you know the story (and the annoyance and amazement at the Jacob Colliers of the world) and how important it is to support these kids. What Cerina is doing speaks to my heart...and that’s why she’s my pick for this National Women’s Day. Happy Women’s Day!