Cape Point Vineyards in Noordhoek is far removed from the gabled cosiness of Stellenbosch or the flashy brilliance of Franschhoek. It is a place of wide-open skies, cold seas, mountains and long, seemingly endless beaches. It is a perfect place to make white-wine varietals, but where Sauvignon Blanc fares particularly well. Young winemaker Riandri Visser has been there since 2014, making waves of her own in an area much loved by surfers.
The wines she makes spring from a deep-rooted love of the land, a passion for being outside. She says, “I have fallen in love with the vineyards. It is where I find my energy.”
Her wines, intense and packed with flavours and aromas of the Cape, are perfect reflections of what she is thinking. The new Cape Town Wine of Origin appellation includes Cape Peninsula, Constantia, Philadelphia and Durbanville and means that all these areas can draw grapes from each other. Cape Point have named these wines Cape Town Wine Co.
One has to wonder when first meeting Riandri Visser how anyone so young, so really nice, so unassuming, has managed to do all she has, and in such a short time. In 2016 she won a spot in the prestigious FNB Sauvignon Blanc Top Ten with her wooded Sauvignon Blanc, quite a leap of faith and still one of her best, and in 2018 she walked away with a Platter Guide five star for her Cape Point Bordeaux-style white blend, Isliedh 2017.
She handles it all with gracious aplomb, paying tribute to those who have been her mentors, people like Duncan Savage, Bruce Jack and Miles Mossop, really big names in the wine world. Riandri and her partner of seven years, also a winemaker, live in a cottage in Noordhoek with two cats, Sancerre and Loire, who think they are dogs, and a dog Sauvie, short for Sauvignon, who thinks she is a cat.
The arrangement seems to suit all who live there. On trips to France, she spent time in the vineyards of Sancerre with families who have been there for decades. She came back “with excitement in my heart, reminded of how lucky I am to work in such a dynamic industry”.
With a spirit like that she certainly deserves all the recognition she is enjoying. When asked whether she thinks winemaking is an art or a science, she says, “It is both. I use my understanding of science to make wine, but I get emotionally invested in my work, just like an artist.”
Brilliant blend of 84 per cent barrel-fermented Sauvignon Blanc and 16 per cent Semillon, rich and complex with marmalade tang and underlying nutty nuances – a knockout. At its very best on its own as an aperitif before light fare. R265
Cape Town Wine Co Chardonnay 2018
Deliciously crisp and clean flavours in this unoaked charmer, elegantly floral notes on the nose, light and refreshing. A summer charmer, especially with prawn salad. R80
Cape Town Wine Co Rosé 2018
A blend of Shiraz and Merlot grapes from the region makes for a wine that is far from blush, marvellously assertive, packed with fruit on the nose and palate. Perfect with smoked salmon or strawberries. R70