Mont du Toit a fresh, new breeze in the Cape winelands

Date posted:
October 10, 2011

Mont du Toit Kelder lies at the foot of the Hawequa Mountains near Wellington, some 65 km north-northeast of Cape Town. The property was acquired by Stephan and Carolina du Toit in 1996. Since then the farm has undergone fundamental changes and improvements with the sole aim of producing premium red blends.

 

Some 28 hectares of vines grow on north and northwest facing slopes of weathered granite and Clovelly Hutton soils, with sandy loam in the lower areas. Only red varieties have been planted so far - cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, shiraz, alicante bouschet, mourvedre, petit verdot and tinta barocca. Since the maiden vintage 11 years ago, Mont du Toit has received international recognition for the consistent high quality of its wines.

 

Wine production at Mont du Toit is based on a traditional “low-tech” approach. The entire Mont du Toit philosophy relies on the growing of the right grapes, keeping yields down, doing green harvesting (pruning away excessive grapes) at veraison and meticulously selecting only ripe fruit by hand during harvest.  Vineyards range in age from 3 to 25 years. The older vines contribute mostly to the two principal blends, Le Sommet and Mont du Toit.

 

The hand-picked grapes are collected in small crates and again undergo selection by hand on a mobile sorting table in the cellar. After destemming, the grapes are fed by gravity into the fermentation tanks where maceration takes place for extended periods, enhancing both colour and flavour. From the fermentation cellar the wine is fed by gravity into small, mainly French, oak barrels lying in an underground maturation cellar. Malolactic fermentation takes place in the barrels and the wines mature in them for up to 2 years.

 

Each vineyard block and variety is vinified separately under the watchful eyes of Mont du Toit’s winemaker, Bernd Philippi, award-winning and renowned winemaker from Germany who provides expert guidance for in both the vineyard as the cellar. His meticulous tasting creates exceptional blends for each of the wines in the range.

 

The local winemaker and farm manager is the young and energetic Derick Koegelenberg. He joined Mont du Toit in June 2008. Derick matriculated from the Boland Agricultural High School. He completed his B.Agric Admin degree at the University of Stellenbosch, whereafter he went on to further study in viti- and viniculture at Elsenburg.

 

Left: Mont du Toit's Les Coteaux range of fine wines.

 

“All our wines are blended from the cultivars referred to above. Cabernet sauvignon, merlot and shiraz are the most important components, to which the other are added to the degree necessary to create the fruit, elegance, balance and lingering aftertaste we seek for our wines,” says Derick. “There is no formula, and each year nature dictates how the blend is made up.

 

“All our wines are matured in small, mainly French oak barrels, made from wood from a variety of forests. New wood is used judiciously so as to retain fruit flavours to the full.”

 

The blends are:

 

Hawequas:             Named after the mountain; for export only; matured for 16 months in small oak barrels; fruity, well-rounded; well-suited for every day drinking; goes well with meat, cheese and pasta.

 

Les Coteaux:          The French word for "slopes"; matured up to 23 months in small oak barrels; fruit, balanced and long aftertaste; a sophisticated wine, with a bottle ageing capability of 8 or more years.

 

Mont du Toit:          This is the flagship; matured for 23 months in small oak barrels; bottle-aged for a further year before release;  complex flavours of red fruit; mouth-filling; elegant yet forceful;  flavours on front, middle and back palate; long aftertaste;  a wine that will keep and grow for 10 or more years.

 

Le Sommet:           The peak; made only in exceptional  years in very limited quantities; a wine displaying all the qualities of Mont du Toit, but adding to that a special refinement and fullness which nature has permitted; a special wine for a very special occasion; can be kept for 10 - 15 years.

 

In keeping with his enlightened employment policies, Stephan du Toit some four years ago started up Blouvlei Wyne. Through this enterprise the employees of Mont du Toit have a direct proprietary interest in the production and sale of wines. Blouvlei produces a Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend, a Sauvignon Blanc and a dry Rosé. Its wines are aimed at everyday drinking. The wines are sold locally and are also exported.

 

“It’s about sharing. I wanted to involve the workers on the farm and in the cellar, improve their life prospects and give them and interest in the business. All of the workers are shareholders in the company. I wanted to include all of the workers, regardless of their race,” says Stephan.

 

The red grapes come mostly from the Mont du Toit farm, and the red wines are made in Mont du Toit’s cellar. Although the wines are made by the same “hand-crafted” method as Mont du Toit’s top quality red blends, Blouvlei’s wines are made to be drunk earlier. As Mont du Toit has only red varietals planted across its 28 hectares, the sauvignon blanc grapes are sourced in the Paarl wine of origin area. Blouvlei is supported technically, financially and managerially by Mont du Toit.

 

Ends

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