One of Nabygelegen’s guest cottages. Photograph: John Brunton
James Mackenzie is typical of the down-to-earth winemakers in the less well-known vineyards around Wellington, where visitors are not charged for tastings and guest accommodation is reasonably priced (see the romantic 1748 cottage he rents out). This gentle giant of a man, always accompanied by a horde of faithful dogs, bought the farm in 2000, with 17 hectares of vines that are mostly 40–70 years old. Rather than ripping them up and replanting – the usual trend here – he prefers to work with the old vines, which means lower yield but higher quality. James reckons he lives in paradise, with Nabygelegen protected by the craggy snow-topped mountains and his home looking out on an idyllic lake, perfect for tasting wines at sunset. He makes an outstanding chenin blanc, priced at £4.30, and tells visitors that, “this grape was planted initially to make brandy, but over time it has adapted to our climate and soil and can now be considered an authentic South African variety.”
• Bovlei Division Road, Wellington, +27 21 8737534, nabygelegen.co.za
We don’t think it’s often that the Queen of England gets to experience wines handmade in the Bovlei Valley, Wellington let alone use them to celebrate the festivities of her 60 th Jubilee!
On the 6 th June, Nabygelegen Private Cellar was privileged enough to have both their Nabygelegen Chenin Blanc 2008 and their Snow Mountain Pinot Noir 2009 as the wines selected for the Jubilee Lunch at Marlboro House for the Commonwealth Heads of States and hosted by the Queen. Not only is this a coup for Nabygelegen and Wellington but also for South Africa as Premiers of wine making countries such as New Zealand and Australia were present at the lunch.
The menu for this special occasion was a starter of Brie and Avocado Terrine, a main of Wild Sea Bass and for Dessert an Apple Crumble Soufflé served with Apple Pie Ice Cream.
Nabygelegen is a small farm in the Bovlei Valley of Wellington which specialises in Hand Crafted Wine. Our Motto – “Good Wine Takes Time”. Granted in 1712, by Governor William Herlot to one of the new free citizens of the Cape Jan Lorenz originally from Rostock in Germany. Lorenz made the first steps toward developing the farm and planted the first vines.
The name Nabygelegen means “Lying nearby” probably stems from that time, when Lorenz family all lived in the area. After his death in 1721 the farm passed through several hands and in 2000 James McKenzie bought the farm and turned the farm into a working winery. James is the Winemaker and specialises in hand crafted wines.
Not only are these wines good enough for the Queen, they are also extremely affordable.
September Wines by Lorraine Geldenhuys, WINES (PDF)
A Minute on Wine Lists with Dax | Under The Influence (Web Page)
2 Oceans Vibe Radio Wine Review by Maryna Strachan, WINE EXTRA (Podcast coming soon)
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