La Colline is farmed by Anton Roux, a direct descendant of the Huguenot refugee Paul Roux who arrived in Franschhoek in 1688. This vineyard was planted by Anton’s grandfather in the year 1936 on the southern slope of Dassenberg. It’s situated between 310 and 350m above sea-level. During summer, these tightly planted bushvines form a slightly wild looking mess of life and grapes. In winter they resemble a crowd of drunkards cart wheeling across the slope. It is a beautiful old thing.
As is typical in the Cape’s older Semillon vineyards, there are some dark skinned Semillon vines inter-planted with the light skinned Semillon. This oddity is virtually extinct in the rest of the world, and so affords us a chance to make something uniquely South African.
Not all of the old Franchhoek Semillon vineyards are planted on good sites, but La Colline certainly is. The vineyard is a joy to work with. At this age, the vines are very settled, giving a dependable crop of perfect little yellow and pink pearls of flavour. The wine it produces has a remarkable depth and mouthfeel. It’s not easy to define what makes Semillon such a great grape or such an interesting wine, but it’s an indispensable part of Cartology.
From 2014 onward we started bottling parts of this vineyard as a Single Vineyard wine. The first rendition was called Arrow Heart Semillon, made mostly from the dark skinned grapes, or Semillon Gris (this oddity still grows in some of the Cape’s older vineyards, though it’s virtually extinct everywhere else on Earth). The resulting wine was strange in a good way and good in a strange way.
From 2015 onwards, we made the decision to simply pick the grapes just as they grow in the vineyard and whole bunch press them all together. The resulting wine is somewhere around 10 or 15 % Semillon Gris, the rest Semillon Blanc.
The main reason for this change in approach is that we feel like it’s a better, or truer reflection of the old vineyard, and perhaps closer to what a dry Cape white wine may have been like back in the 1800’s. We think it’s important to respect this, and to make a wine that speaks about the place in its entirety.
The nose shows dried citrus skin, ripe orange/tangerine, baking spices and thatch. This wine is unusually complex, even for La Colline. The palate shows serious concentration and depth, kept in check by fine acidity. 13.5% alc
Composition: 100% old vine Semillon, Single Vineyard wine, approx. 10 – 15% Semillon Gris, 85 –90% Semillon Blanc (inter-planted), Franschhhoek.
Tasting Notes: This is our best bottling from this vineyard to date. I suppose the old vines have seen dry years before and know what to do. The nose shows some orange blossom, thatch, peach and citrus notes. Lovely concentration and depth. The wines from this vineyard make me think of walking through a small door into a vast and ornate room.
Composition: 100% old vine Semillon, Single Vineyard wine, approx. 10 – 15% Semillon Gris, 85 – 90% Semillon Blanc (inter-planted), Franschhhoek.
Notes: This bottling currently shows the usual bit of reduction on opening. This blows of after a short while. The nose shows orange peel, thatch, and touches of hedge fruit. The palate shows tremendous depth, along with the mid-palate density and texture that old vine Semillon is known for. This wine will certainly reward bottle ageing. Decanting recommended. Fear not the sediment.
Composition: 75% skin fermented Semillon Gris, 25% whole bunch pressed Semillon Blanc.
Notes: The nose is very interesting, with earthy notes of bay leaf and white pepper. Glimmers of ripe tangerine and hedge fruit pierce the otherwise savoury scent. The palate has real substance and density. Despite the moderate weight of the wine, it remains quite powerful.
Click here for a map of where our vineyards are.
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