Strandveld The Navigator is a limited edition wine (only 7000 bottles are produced each year) this classy Rhône-style red, joins the terrific First Sighting Wines in our Wine Shop, from this excellent Southern most winery in South Africa. The vineyards are just 9 kilometres from the sea, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Indian Ocean off Cape Agulhas; this is cool climate South Africa.
Strandveld The Navigator has rich, complex aromas of blackberries, plums, raspberries white pepper and spice. The spice comes through to the richly layered palate. It has wonderfully full, complex flavours which combine juicy blackberries, coffee, mocha and herb hints. This is certainly a complex, rich, savoury and well structured red with supple tannins, structure and great length. We love Tim Atkin’s description of this wine, and believe it is just ready now, but will develop further and reward careful cellaring. We note that Tim Atkin recommends drinking Strandveld The Navigator 2016 vintage from 2021!
A blend of mainly Syrah, with Grenache, Mourvèdre and Viognier grapes which were harvested over a 5 day period and were then co-fermented, with a total of 21 days skin contact and pump overs twice daily. This special blend was matured for 18 months in French Oak in a combination of 300 and 500 litre barrels, 30% new oak, the balance being made up of second and third fill barrels.
At almost 35 degrees below the equator, the maritime climate has below average temperatures for the Cape. Here, the winds can be so strong that vineyard workers find it hard to stand up! “Strandveld” refers to the coastal belt of land which spans the coastline around Africa’s tempestuous southernmost tip at Cape Agulhas. It is characterised by severe wind, mist and cool temperatures. This confluence of maritime climate, varying site and soil types create the diversity of terroir that distinguishes the wines of Strandveld Vineyards.
Conrad Vlok, winemaker at Strandveld since 2004, focuses on producing excellent quality grapes in this cool climate. Yields are low, the grapes ripen slowly and the berries are small; as a result the wines have intense flavours. The 69 hectares estate and winery was established in 2001, the vines that have produced this wine were planted from 2004 and already the winery has achieved many awards. The 2016 vintage of this wine received 93 points from Tim Atkin MW and 4.5 stars in Platters Wine Guide.
“Made in a style that combines elements of the norther and southern Rhone. Made from 52% Syrah, 48% Grenache, Mourvèdre and Viognier. It’s like a Côte Rôtie crossed with Cairanne, with gutsy concentration, some pepper spice and 38% new wood.” 93 Points; Drink 2021 – 2026. Tim Atkin MW, Special Report South Africa 2019
Strandveld’s logo is “where earth and ocean meet – there lies the magic.” and you can read about this unique place in our short blog, by following the link which will take you to our News & Views Page.
How did this wine get its name?
The idea of making a “Rhône style” wine had always been in Conrad Vlok”s mind as he loves the richness, elegance and difference of these wines. They planted Syrah, Mourvèdre, Grenache and Viognier grapes in the quartzite gravel soils shortly after he started working at Strandveld, and after a few years Conrad was thrilled to be making a fine Rhône-style red. He decided to name it “The Navigator”, recalling the work of Prince Henry “The Navigator” who lived more than 500 years ago in Portugal. He was passionate about discovering new regions of the world, especially finding a sea route to the East. History relates that he built up a collection of maps, which were handed down from one brave mariner to the next. As each successive caravel sailed a bit further down the west coast of Africa, new information was added to Prince Henry’s knowledge. However, ultimately it was Bartholomew Diaz who first rounded the southern tip of Africa in 1487, thereby opening that elusive sea route.
When Strandveld planted Syrah, Mourvèdre, Grenache and Viognier vineyards, Conrad had this story in mind as he identified the soils and climate in the varied terrain of this estate at the tip of South Africa, that might just yield a special Rhone-style red.
About this vintage
The winter of 2015 was recorded as one of the wettest for the Strandveld area in decades; this was was the opposite to the rest of the Western Cape which had a very hot, dry spell. Despite the wet, cool conditions in November Strandveld had a slightly bigger harvest than in 2015. Overall the growing season was cool, in contrast to the extreme heat and drought experienced throughout the Cape. It is this cooler climate that has provided ripe fruit and a beautiful balance between fruit flavours and acidity in the 2016 wines.
Food match: Roasts – pork, lamb and steak; game; mediterranean style foods