Pinotage is a uniquely South African variety, created by Professor Perold from Stellenbosch University, a cross between Pinot Noir and Hermitage. Pinot Noir has been described as " The Prince of French red grape varieties” and Hermitage: "a much more humble variety”, but this “humble” addition proves beneficial for the more rugged South African “terroir". Hawksmoor House, situated on the farm Matjieskuil, was deeded by Simon Van de Stel in 1692 (the founder of “Stel-lenbosch”. Historically the former owners, of Dutch origins, grew grapes but had family connections with the neighbouring farm.
We have 3,24 Ha of Pinotage vines, planted in 1996. They are “bush” vines rather than “trellis”, this is typical for the Paarl region. Our other varieties are Shiraz, Cabernet Franc, Mourvedre and Chenin Blanc, a total of 23,5 Ha under vines.
Our ownership only goes back to 2005, and as new owners we were determined to use Matjieskuil grapes to make our own wine, under the label “Hawksmoor at Matjieskuil” Our first review in the Platters Guide alluded to the “nail varnish and banana” aromas, stating these to be typical Pinotage characteristics! The 2005 vintage drank well as a young wine but 10 years on, we tasted a bottle or two in our private store, and despite no oaking, a truly well-structured and serious wine presented itself. We only wish we had saved more! Our advice was to put the wine under screwcap, and certainly, this proved to us that the particular capsule chosen was the right one.
Our current Pinotage range comprises a lightly oaked 2014, and an unoaked 2017. These are two very different wines and it is great to observe the contrast where the grapes have come from the same source but have different winemakers, different vintages, one unoaked, and one oaked.
As you may well know, the Western Cape has recently suffered a major drought. Some of the farms suffered up to a 40% loss in yield. Normally we would irrigate three times a year, but in 2017 were only able to carry out 2 irrigations. The effect was a slight drop in tonnage - ie a fall from c7 tons per ha to 6,25 tons per ha. In 2018 our dam was empty for the very first time, along with many other farms'. We are proud of our terroir and our dedicated workforce, who have years of experience in pruning and nurturing techniques. We are delighted to report that the 2018 harvest showed a yield of 6,25 tons per Ha again. The empty dam gave us the opportunity to clean it, take out silt and do essential maintenance for the future. Recent rains have been very welcome, and as the “run-off” area is vast, the dam is nearly full for the 2019 season.
Despite the lack of rain and the lack of irrigation in 2018, we also experienced an approximately 20% increase in our yield for our Chenin Blanc. These are old vines and the yield is normally fairly low, but the increase was very welcome. We can only think this is due to their long roots reaching for the water table, and their eager desire to bear fruit and survive.
If you would like to taste our wines, including the two Pinotages discussed above, you are welcome to mail us at email@example.com. We offer 25% off a mixed case of 12 different wines if ordered by 12th October and to celebrate Pinotage day, 30% off our two Pinotages! If you are staying with us on the day, book you dinner as well and get a complimentary glass of wine.
We also specialise in tasting lunches at Hawksmoor House- this is by appointment only, (minimum 24hour notice. Bookings via email) for 12 to 20 people and we will taste 9 wines in sets of three, comparing different vintages, different oaking and different blends, but always the same grapes. It’s a great way to improve your wine knowledge in beautiful surroundings.
Mail us for a price list- quoting “Pinotage Day” and this offer is on the basis that the wine is collected from the farm- we are happy to hold it for you, should you be far away!