Friday, 19 October 2007

TN : Vergelegen Mill Race Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot, 2005, Vergelegen, Stellenbosch, South Africa

This wine is a blend of 53% Cabenet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, and 3% Malbec. It had too much green pepper pungency and taste for my liking.

This wine was imported by VinUnic though I could find no mention of it on their website !.

I also checked the Vergelegen website and the latest listed vintage was 2004 which is not correct.

Vergelegen, meaning "situated far away", was granted to the Governor of the Cape in 1700 and the property has had a long and fascinating history since that time. Willem Adriaan Van der Stel, was a man of divergent interests who transformed the uncultivated land into a veritable paradise. He planted vines, camphor trees and oaks, laid out fruit orchards and orange groves, and introduced cattle and sheep.

During its long history Vergelegen has developed a unique culture. It is embodied in physical properties, in its people and in the more aesthetic traditions down over the last 300 years. The property still gives pleasure to its numerous visitors with its layout, including the historic camphor trees and octagonal garden, the stately homestead and the fertile valley where fine wines are grown.

Vergelegen is thought to have originated in 1685 when the High Commissioner of the Dutch East India Company instructed Commander Simon van der Stel to relocate the company's outpost in the Hottentots Holland. The company had bought the grounds in 1672 from the chiefs of the tribe that owned it. Simon van der Stel personally saw to the proportional planning of this new outpost with its posthouse, wheat store, cowsheds, orchards, vegetable gardens, wheat store and ditches, according to the "rules of mathematics and architecture". It is thought to have remained an outpost until 1 February 1700 when the 342 ha of freehold land were granted to William Adriaan van der Stel, the new governor of the Cape. (Willem Adriaan was the son of Governor Simon van der Stel who founded the famous Groot Constantia Estate in the Cape.) On his retirement his son became Governor and also the owner of Vergelegen - meaning, "situated far away". He planted vines and, after six years, had half a million vine stocks. He laid out fruit orchards and orange groves; he planted camphors and oaks; he established eighteen cattle stations with 1000 cattle and 1800 sheep. He made reservoirs, dug irrigation canals and controlled the Lourens River. Willem Adriaan also built a beautiful homestead, a corn mill and many other subsidiary buildings. The younger van der Stel was a man of divergent interests and he transformed the uncultivated land into a veritable paradise. For years he was in bitter dispute with Adam Tas and other Free Burghers. Finally his enemies triumphed and the directors of the Dutch East India Company, in a letter dated 30th October 1706, ignominiously dismissed him and ordered him to return to the Netherlands. Three years later, on the implicit instructions of the Company, Vergelegen was sold and divided into 4 separate farms. The homestead was ordered to be demolished, which only partially happened. Vergelegen passed through a succession of owners until 1798, when the Theunissen family took ownership of it for over a century. Under their care, the vineyards flourished. In 1917 Sir Lionel purchased the property for his wife Florence Phillips, who spent vast sums on the restoration of the old homestead, library and gardens. The old footbridge was replaced by a structure wide enough to accommodate motor traffic, roads were constructed and dams built. The vineyards were removed and replaced with mixed agriculture. After the death of Sir Lionel and later Lady Florence Phillips, Charles ëPunchí Barlow and his wife Cynthia acquired the estate in June 1941. Cynthia Barlow was as devoted to Vergelegen as Lady Phillips had been and it was fortunate that she had been able to purchase many of the beautiful pieces of furniture and works of art accumulated by Lady Florence. To this collection she added her own considerable treasures and the tradition of Vergelegen was maintained. The Barlowís resumed farming operations on Vergelegen and began planting vines on a small scale. 'Punch' Barlow's son Tom took over the running of the farm in 1966 until Anglo American Farms limited purchased the property in October 1987. One of the many projects undertaken by Anglo American Farms was to begin replanting the vineyards, following intensive climatic and soil tests. This historic property is now coming into its own as a showpiece of South Africaís recent wine renaissance. Throughout its history celebrities of international renown have frequently visited Vergelegen. Over the last decade Vergelegen has been honoured by the visits of the full Executive Committee of the ANC, Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, and in March 1998 by Nelson Mandela and Bill Clinton with their First Ladies.

Vergelegen is open for visits daily (except on Christmas day, Good Friday, and Workers Day) between 9:30 and 16:00.

Colour : Dark red

Aroma : Red fruits, green pepper, white pepper, liquorice

Taste : red fruits, spice, blackcurrant, green pepper, liquorice

Alcohol : 15% (on label, 14.5% stated in Systembolaget Varunytt November 2007)

Price : 109 SEK

Mark : C

Website : Vergelegen
Website : VinUnic


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