South Africa, Wellington; LONG famous for its revolutionary ‘coffee-chocolate’ Pinotage, Diemersfontein wine estate outside Wellington is proving it’s no one-trick-pony when it comes to this iconic South African cultivar, with the release of a third Pinotage in the range, ‘The Prodigy’.
“We felt there was an opportunity for something new in our portfolio, and we wanted to further cement Diemersfontein’s reputation as a leading Pinotage producer in the Cape winelands,” explains David Sonnenberg, whose family has owned the property for three generations.
While the complex Carpe Diem Pinotage Reserve is a bottle best kept for special occasions, and the much-loved coffee and chocolate notes of the Original Pinotage make it a wine worth savouring, “the lighter fruit-driven style of The Prodigy perfectly ticks the box for everyday enjoyment,” says Francois Roode, cellar master and winemaker at Diemersfontein.
Befitting the youthful liveliness suggested by the name, grapes for The Prodigy 2018 were sourced primarily from younger vineyards in the Wellington area, with only a small portion brought in from the Breede River valley.
“That was simply due to lower yields following the drought, and we plan for all future vintages to be sourced from Wellington vineyards, to showcase the beautiful fruit we have here and the wonderful versatility of Pinotage,” says Roode. “Pinotage is a grape that’s just so well suited to Wellington. It loves the sun and the soils, and gives good colour, structure and fruit character.”
To preserve that character, after harvest the grapes were fermented in stainless steel tanks, with minimal oak influence.
“We had a particular fruit-driven style in mind for The Prodigy and we didn’t want oak to dominate the wine, only to give it a little bit of structure and backbone,” says Roode, who joined Diemersfontein in 2003 and today leads the cellar in producing award-winning wines under both the Diemersfontein and Thokozani brands.
The Prodigy also fits neatly into a reframing of the estate’s trio of Pinotage releases, now re-imagined as three talented performers, each with their own charms. There’s elegance in the Carpe Diem Pinotage Reserve, and The Original Diemersfontein Pinotage is touted as the groundbreaking rebel for her genre-busting charisma. So, it’s entirely fitting that this latest addition is dubbed The Prodigy.
“It’s the youngster starting out, leveraging on the reputation of the older sisters, but equally bringing her own talents to bear,” explains Sonnenberg. “We enjoy extraordinary loyalty from our customers, who have long enjoyed The Original Diemersfontein Pinotage and gone on to discover the Carpe Diem Pinotage Reserve. We are confident that those same wine-lovers will enjoy and appreciate our latest addition just as much.”
The musical reference of Diemersfontein’s Pinotage releases also ties in with the charitable works of the estate’s Excellence Out of Africa Trust.
Founded in 2010 with a focus on classical music and opera, the Trust has provided financial and logistical support to launch the careers of a number of gifted young artists, who are making stellar international careers.
Diemersfontein has also supported the careers of a number of popular music groups through appearances at the enormously popular Pinotage on Tap festival held on the estate each year. Over the years the Trust has also hosted musical masterclass programs on the estate for young opera singers, and further supports youth education via scholarships to Wellington Preparatory School and College, a respected private school situated on the property, that was founded by David and Sue Sonnenberg, along with local parents.
The landmark release of the new Pinotage has further provided a unique opportunity to refresh the estate’s wine labels, which have changed little over the last 20 years.
Across the portfolio the eye-catching Diemersfontein logo has been given greater prominence, with the estate’s portfolio of premium red wines enjoying the most striking evolution. The logo of burnished gold now stands proudly atop an elegant line drawing of the historic estate.
“With the redesign we wanted people to continue to recognise the logo, but also realise that we’re a vital, innovative estate that is constantly changing,” explains Hannelize Mouton, Diemersfontein’s National Sales and Marketing Manager.
Alongside a revamp of the labels the estate has also refreshed its online presence, with a new website improving wine-lovers’ ability to engage with the farm.