A NICHE WINE
We called our wine Pro Amico, which means for a friend, for it is only with friends that wine is truly enjoyed. The unbroken line of the red star on the label symbolizes enduring friendship.
We first planted our merlot and shiraz vines on our one hectare land in 2004 and made our first wine in 2008. We were pleasantly surprised when in 2010 our Pro Amico Merlot Shiraz was awarded 4 stars by Platter on its first entry to the Platter tasting. Our 2011 was awarded 4 stars in 2017, confirming our belief that our Pro Amico matures well.
In 2016 the design of the Pro Amico label was a finalist in the Wine Label Design Awards made by Winemag.co.za.
Christiaan Eedes, an esteemed wine taster and commentator, described the 2010 Pro Amico as follows in his tasting note "What I drank Last Night":
"In the case of the 2010, this is a blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Shiraz, matured for 12 months, 30% new and it's a really pleasing if not super-complex drink. The nose shows red fruit, some appealing herbal character as well as the first signs of development which only adds interest. The palate is medium-bodied with nice freshness and fine tannins - very more-ish relative to all those big and bold reds out there."
THE PERFECT LAND
Nietgegund was granted to Hermanus Christiaan van Brakel on 31 May 1841. Little did he know at the time that his farm would be located in the middle of the area known as the Golden Triangle of red wine. The Blaauwklippen river runs through the length of the farm. Even at that time Van Brakel was constrained in his title conditions not to cut the now huge oak trees along the river.
To the North East of the farm lies Stellenbosch Mountain, casting a big shadow over the Nietgegund vineyard in the morning, particularly in winter. That means that the low temperature of the night endures until 9h00. In winter with the rain and the low temperatures the ground temperature gets very low.
Once the sun starts shining after 9h00 the temperature soon rises to more than the surrounding areas because the South Easter is absent in the Blaauwklippen valley.
Since our vineyard is small and we produce only one wine we can pay particular attention to our vineyard and the winemaking.
Wine is sunlight captured in water through soil. We therefore cut our vines to admit as much sunlight as possible. The architecture of our vineyard is specifically tailored to permit maximum sunlight. The quality of our soil is also of the utmost importance. It consists mainly of turf and river sand.We apply kompostee to the vineyard for increased root development and growth through the symbiotic plant-microbe interaction.
The leaves are the factory that produces the grapes. Bunches on vines that have insufficient leaves are cut out so that only bunches supported by at least ten leaves each are left. In addition, each bunch must be supported by at least 60cm of cane. By confining the vine's production like this, if focuses its nutrients on fewer grapes. This however also limits total production to a mere six hundred cases per year. Quality lies at the heart of our wine production.
The grapes are hand harvested and sorted in the vineyard. Upon arrival at the cellar they are crushed into open fermenters. The wine is gently punched down manually, fermented naturally and with minimal interference. Maturation is done in 2.5 liter French casks for twelve months before bottling.