Paul Kretzel and Lammershoek
Swartland terroiriste: South Africa revisited part 5

I’d previously met Paul Kretzel on a trip to the Swartland in December 2005, so it was nice to see how his wines were progressing. Paul came to South Africa from Austria in 1976, and worked in corporate life for 26 years before escaping by buying a farm. ‘I didn’t know what I was letting myself into,’ he says. His property has decomposed granite soils and is in the northern part of the Perderberg. It must be decent terroir, because Eben Sadie has bought a piece of land from him.

Kretzel has 100 hectares under vine, and most of the vines are old bush vines, the majority Chenin Blanc. He’s currently in a state of transition from conventional to organic production. ‘When we bought the farm we were co-op producers,’ Kretzel reveals, ‘but then Eben came along, met us, and encouraged us to resurrect the cellar in 1999.’ Now Lammershoek export all over the world, producing 10–12 000 cases annually. ‘Locally, we don’t do much, because people don’t understand our wines.’ As well as making wines, Kretzel still sells grapes to other producers, including Eben’s Palladius.

‘We do everything in the vineyard by hand,’ says Paul, which is no mean feat when you have 350 000 vines to tend. Paul is keen on bush vines. ‘I’m a strong believer in bush vines, but you have to work them by hand.’ He says that with gobelet training, the nutrients all travel the same distance, and the fruit has the same position, leading to consistent ripening. They also have relatively low yields, which helps quality.

In the winery, just wood and concrete are used, and all ferments are natural. ‘I think 80% is fruit, 20% is winemaking,’ he claims. Paul has strong opinions. ‘Sauvignon Blanc just doesn’t belong here: Chenin Blanc to us is still number 1.’


Lammershoek Chenin Blanc 2008
This spends 9 months in old wood. Deep yellow colour. Lovely complex straw and herb nose with lovely density and texture on the palate. There’s some sweetness to the fruit, and a long, complex, nutty, herby finish. Delightful wine with personality and texture. 92/100

Lammershoek Roulette Blanc 2008
A blend of Chenin and Chardonnay. Really lively nose showing fresh, bright, complex fruit with some subtle toasty notes and hints of lime. The palate is fresh, pure and vividly fruity with lovely rich, nutty, subtly toasty notes. Lively and pure with some complexity. 92/100

Lammershoek Roulette Red 2006
A red blend with 60% Shiraz. No acidification or nutrient addition; some stems used. Sweet brooding nose with lovely rich dark fruits: blackberry and dark cherry. Well defined and floral. The palate is really vivid with lovely fresh, sweet, meaty, spicy fruit. 90/100

Lammershoek Syrah 2007
Very fresh nose, with a hint of mint and spice, as well as some meaty notes. The palate is fresh and meaty, with olive and spice notes. Vibrant yet smooth, this is distinctly savoury. Nice stuff. 90/100

Part 1, Tulbagh Mountain Vineyards
Part 2, Cape Point Vineyards
Part 3, AA Badenhorst Family Wines
Part 4, Eben Sadie: Sadie Family Wines and Sequillo Cellars
Part 5, Paul Kretzel of Lammershoek
Part 6, Mullineux Family Wines
Part 7, Vondeling
Part 8, Scali
Part 9, Sterhuis
Part 10, Raats
Part 11, Migliarina
Part 12, Charles Back and Fairview
Part 13, Hermit on the Hill
Part 14, Klein Constantia
Part 15, Iona, Elgin
Part 16, Paul Cluver, Elgin
Part 17, Eagles' Nest, Constantia
Part 18, Anthonij Rupert
Part 19, Oak Valley, Elgin
Part 20, Shannon, Elgin

Wines tasted 11/09  
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