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Saartjie – a Vineyard Treasure at Hillcrest

Saartjie – a Vineyard Treasure at Hillcrest

I have never really understood how one can go through life without loving or being loved by a pet of some kind.

Words by Greg Landman

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Dogs, cats, birds, even fish, all link us to a very special part of creation and make life just that much more real.

The young winemaker at Hillcrest in Durbanville,  Arno Smith, has taken his love for Saartjie – a very special Jack Russell – to great heights.

She is on the bottle of a range of a single vineyard wines Hillcrest have launched that bear her name. She is named after a fierce old aunt of Arno’s, who used to observe quietly from a distance all that was going on and then when she needed to intervene would do so with great gusto—just like Saartjie—or so he says.

We all think our pups are talented—I had a grandfather who said even the scorpion thinks his kids are great. Saartjie is a real celebrity at Hillcrest and many people bring their dogs to the restaurant there so they can get to know her.

The wines Arno has made are Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, a Malbec, and a Semillon.

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Saartjie wines Hillcrest

The  Cabernet Franc has some typical Durbanville minerality, some spice, soft tannins, blackcurrant and herbs—and a nice long finish.  The Malbec is gloriously deep coloured, with intense plum and black cherry flavours. An almost inky dark colour marks the Petit Verdot with cassis notes on the nose which follow through to the palate.

The Semillon reveals vanilla, citrus, and some honey like tang without any sweetness—some old oak has been used and wild yeast adds to the intensity of the wine. The wines are only available at the cellar and are well priced at R125 a bottle.

So get yourself there, do a tasting, eat some food, buy some olives and meet Saartjie in the flesh.

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