Get to know; Nabygelegen Private Cellars

Get to know; Nabygelegen Private Cellars
Author: Lydia Afonso
Date created: 2016/03/17

The restoration of Nabygelegen began in mid-2001 with the extensive planting of new vineyards and the rejuvenation of the existing ones. With some vines planted in the 1940’s and new plantings coming online yearly, our commitment to quality without compromise, is firmly on track!

Small productions of concentrated wines have already gained critical acclaim confirming our mission to create wines of character and concentration passionately reflecting our terroir, while using environmentally sound techniques in the cellar and vineyard.  Subscribing to ethical labour practices and enthusiastically pursuing upliftment of the area.

 

Their History

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 towards developing the farm and planted the first vines along with fruit and vegetables to supply to the Cape’s fast growing shipping lanes.

The name Nabygelegen – “lying nearby” – probably stems from that time, when Lorenz’s family all lived in the area. After his death in 1721 the farm passed through several hands until 1847 when it was acquired by the Du Toit family in whose control it remained until 2001.

The farm’s old homestead and outbuildings were built over a long period of time with many alterations and additions. The stables and the old cellar building certainly stem from an earlier time and may have formed part of the original barn built in 1712. The homestead stands out and has the classical Cape Dutch H shape and pedimented neoclassical gable which was constructed in the late 1700’s.

It is worth mentioning that prior to the modern history and even sporadic Bushman and Iron Age settlements, the area of the Bovlei and specifically the farm itself was inhabited by prehistoric man. The lush fertile valley with its strong flowing river attracted ancient man. Stone-age implements and hand axes have been found, some dating back over a million years. Most of these finds were discovered in the deep, red, vineyard soils by the vineyard team on their daily rounds.

 

Many of these tools are now on display in the Wellington museum and others can be viewed in the tasting room at Nabygelegen.

 

The Terroir

33°37’59.91”S   19°03’50.59”E

Nabygelegen, in the heart of the Bovlei “upper valley” winegrowing district just outside Wellington, enjoys a special interaction between diverse soils, slopes and climate, contributing to the farming of consistently high quality, super-premium wines in a very South African style.

 

The Climate 

Characterized by long dry summers and cold wet winters, the Cape enjoys a fairly moderate climate. The vineyards at Nabygelegen are to a large extent shielded from the Cape winter storms and intense summers by the overshadowing Limietberg mountain range on its doorstep.

This, together with cooling catabatic airflows from the Groenberg Mountain, create the right temperature balance for easy ripening and moderate vine growth required for making our unique wines.

 

The soil

Not only do the adjacent mountains create excellent climatic conditions, but through weathering and erosion they have deposited many complex strata of rocks and soils in the valleys below. Thus Nabygelegen’s vineyards can be planted in very soil-specific sites with the reds rooted in very deep red, well-drained, stony Hutton soils.

White wines are planted in equally deep decomposed granite Glen Rosa soils, which create a distinct flintiness, especially in the Sauvignon Blanc.

 

The vines

Planted over 20.2 hectares within the 35 hectare estate, the varietals are evenly spread between reds and whites.

Cabernet (3ha), Merlot (4ha), Petit Verdot (1.2ha), Malbec (2ha) and Tempranillo (0.5ha) make up the backbone of the vines planted on the warmer north-facing slopes. Sauvignon Blanc (2.5ha) Chenin Blanc (6ha), Verdelho (0.5ha) and Semillon (0.5ha) are south-facing and lower down in the valley.

The oldest blocks, planted in 1940, yield very small crops of concentrated mineral Chenin Blanc, while some of the newer plantings have produced wonderful new world fruit. Further plantings of Merlot and Petit Verdot have been a great success and a block of Tempranillo has added to the spice in the Winery.

 

Their Cellar

Nabygelegen has a very old history of winemaking and the original cellar building dating back to well before its inscribed 1815 gable date has old, open concrete fermenting tanks, stone foot presses and underground storage tanks. We believe this old cellar was built during the very carasmatic ownership a wonderful Lady, Anna Lategan.

Last used in 1934, they now form part of the barrel maturation room. Full use is being made of the delicately restored massive buttress walls and the deep cool tanks. Now many vintages are on display in the bottle racks and the wine library.

The modern winery and fermentation cellar contains state-of-the-art machinery and the most modern of processes from the new and old world are used. From special grape cooling and sorting techniques to the soft working pumps and presses, everything is designed to get fruit into the bottle with minimum handling.

 

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