Strandveld The Navigator is a limited edition wine (only 7000 bottles are produced each year) this is a classy northern Rhône-style red from this excellent winery in South Africa. Strandveld’s 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 and great length. We love Tim Atkin’s descriptions of this wine, and believe it is ready now, but will develop further and reward careful cellaring. We note that Tim Atkin MW recommends drinking Strandveld The Navigator 2018 vintage from 2022 to 2028.
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 2018 vintage of this wine received a Decanter World Wine Awards Silver Medal with 93 Points, and awards from Top 10 & Platinum Award with 95+ SAWI 2020.
Check out our competitive price for this wine; sells in a few Independent Wine Merchants £20 – £22.80
“Savoury with plummy earth, attractive roast meat, and dark red fruits. The palate has a classic styling and lovely elegant balance.” 93 Points, Decanter World Wine Awards 2021 Panel. Silver Medal – 2018 vintage
“A dark, broody nose shows coffee bean spice, blackberry, blueberry and touches of floral perfume. Cooling on the palate with a lean mineral finish” 95 Points Decanter World Wine Awards 2020 Panel – 2017 vintage
“Picked over the course of 5 days and then co-fermented this is a cuvée of Syrah with 47% Grenache, Mourvèdre and Viognier. Made in an “Old World” style, it’s all about structure, acidity and freshness rather than fruit weight. Spicy and fresh with a hint of meaty reduction and aromas of wild Mediterranean herbs.” 93 Points: Drink 2022 – 2027. Tim Atkin MW, Special Report South Africa 2020 – 2017 vintage
“Made in a style that combines elements of the northern 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 – 2017 vintage
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.