Wine lovers, grape growers and winemakers in the Southern Hemisphere may find it an appropriate happenstance that harvest and Easter coincide. Both are periods associated with new life, and, certainly for those who live a life close to the vine, it is a period that – like an unhatched egg – holds great promise. For each vintage presents the culmination of a year of hard work between the vines, nurturing each individual shoot to its full potential, applying the right amount of pruning to channel energy to just enough berries – and then, relying on the external and internal forces to ultimately deliver a memorable vintage.
At Cathedral Cellar, this energetic and lively period between the vines is now reaching a crescendo, and every day closer to Easter is a day the cellar gets fuller and the promise of this year’s wines become more tangible. Chief Winemaker Justin Corrans is eagerly anticipating this vintage to deliver full-bodied wines with lots of character: “If you’ve got the picking date right while juggling the heatwave, rain, cellar capacity and a bit of my own anxiety then the 2021 vintage is shaping up to deliver some great wines. It looks like we have made the right call with the young wines showing great freshness, fruit purity and flavour concentration. Now all we need to do is nurture that potential until the wines are bottled.”
“A great deal has been written about the challenging time cellars in South Africa are facing due to covid-19 related lockdown regulations and the after-effects of the ban on alcohol sales,” says Tanya Blokdyk, Brand Manager on Cathedral Cellar wines, “but despite this reality, the spirit at the wine presses seems to mirror that which is often associated with Easter: a new beginning and with this the power of positive thoughts to break any hard or inhibitive shell.”
Positive thoughts, positive actions
Shining a light on other companies who are breaking ground with their positive ideas and contributions, Cathedral Cellar has collaborated with two inspiring companies, Philippa French and ABALOBI, to honour the spirit of this harvest season.
Philippa French is a company that creates wearable art, using only the best quality Czech Republic glass beads. It is owned by Philippa Spark, who works directly with teams of crafters in the Valley of 1000 hills on the outskirts of Durban, South Africa. Here, each artisan, many of who are single mothers or grandmothers who have lost their children and are taking care of their grandchildren, is responsible for supporting their direct and extended families. “The sense of community amongst artisans is enormous, and every order helps to benefit these incredibly worthy individuals, of all ages,” says Philippa.
ABALOBI is an African-based social enterprise with a global reach. Through direct orders managed through a dedicated app, this non-profit organisation contribute towards thriving, equitable and sustainable small-scale fishing communities in Africa and beyond.
Food for thought, wines for pleasure
Cathedral Cellar’s ambassador chef, Chef Mynhardt Joubert, has been justifiably motivated to create something which reflects the energy of harvest and Easter. “I love everything about Easter and this time of the year – the bounty of seasonal produce, the change in weather and the harvest which is in full swing all add to the magic this season’s spirit,” said Mynhardt. To reflect this ‘magic’ Mynhardt compiled a harvest box with recipes with deep cultural roots: Pickled Yellowtail Easter Fish and a spiced harvest grape bread made with sultanas, cinnamon and dates with a pistachio and honey glaze.
To match these thoughtful food offerings, Justin suggested a bottle Cathedral Cellar Pinotage 2018 and Cathedral Cellar Chardonnay 2019: “The Chardonnay with its prominent nose of tropical fruit, and secondary notes of orange blossom and lime will make a perfect companion for the pickled yellowtail, while the spicy notes found in the Pinotage echo those of the harvest grape bread.”
Says Justin: “If a harvest holds promise, then these wines are that promise turned into pleasure.”