Quoin Rock team not content with place among Top 100 Cellars in South Africa, set their sights on Top 10 status

THE NICOBAR Sauvignon Blanc has been notable from day one. Unique about the maiden 2007 vintage was that the grapes came from Quoin Rock’s farm in the Cape Agulhas district – the subsequent releases being WO Simonsberg-Stellenbosch. And what made its success all the more remarkable was that it’s been achieved despite (or because of) being so unusual or atypical relative to many other top Sauvignons at the time. To this day, it stands out for its particular character profile, barrel-fermentation and -ageing, and tasting descriptors along the lines of “prominent yet extraordinary notes of black currant and grapefruit” combining with “passion fruit, lime and hints of gooseberry…”

That said, the new owner of Quoin Rock, Ukranian Vitaliy Gayduk, would rather his flagship white wine hadn’t been named after a wreck, The Nicobar having been a Danish ship that ran aground off Quoin Point on the False Bay coast back in 1783. He would have preferred something more celebratory or victorious to the tragedy of a vessel going down with its treasure of copper, but knows he’s onto a winner that now ranks among the Top 20 Sauvignons in the country. Quoin Rock also fields good bottlings in the Syrah, Chardonnay as well as dessert wine classes, Gayduk has high hopes for Bordeaux-style reds, and his son Denis (who spends much of his time in the Cape) is confident that the winery is “definitely going to do something with Pinotage” before too long.

Top 100 Cellar status isn’t good enough for the team including winemaker Narina Cloete, viticulturist Nico Walters (ex-Rustenburg) and manager Thys Lombard. Investment and experiments in the vineyards and cellar continue apace, with Cloete having begun what will become regular visits to other wine-producing countries and Nomblot cement tanks plus wooden Taransaud Ovums among the latest additions to the winery… The cellarmaster explains that the egg-shaped fermentation tanks assist with enhancing the mouthfeel and reducing the reductive odours of a wine. How much difference will they make at the end of the day? Watch this space!