Kunjani Wines recently launched their new wine label and we were privileged to attend the launch. All people from the Media, Influencers, Winemakers, marketers and Bloggers joined owners Pia Watermeyer and Paul Barth in a celebration of their new labels which are really classy and contemporary.
Kunjani is the latest addition to the Bottelary Hills sub-route of Stellenbosch, South Africa. Paul Barth & Pia Watermeyer, husband-and-wife team and owners of Kunjani, have created a contemporary and soulful establishment that reflects cross-continental influences like no other in the Winelands of the Western Cape.
“At Kunjani we are all about greeting guests with a warm welcome, and the hands on the label represent a greeting between friends. Kunjani means ‘Hi, how are you?’ and that is exactly how friendships start,” says Pia Watermeyer, Kunjani’s co-owner.
We were greeted with a delicious glass of Savi Sparkling Wine. A rosé blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc.
It is a vibrant sparkling wine with a soft yet zesty flair, made with the consumer in mind who is looking for a sparkling wine that is sophisticated in style without being intimidating.
The building and interior are bold and contemporary, grey, black and red and the setting overlooking the vineyards is simply spectacular.
A variety of delicious canapés were served at various tables at which the wines in their new finery were served. Chef Lamek Mnisi, who has been at the helm of Kunjani’s restaurant from the start, was under immense pressure as the whole area was under a severe power cut at the time of the launch.
KUNJANI – STOLEN CHICKEN ROSÉ 2018
The fruit is a combination of 98% Shiraz and 2% Merlot, grown in the Devon Valley of the Stellenbosch wine region.
The different cultivars were harvested and crushed and the free-run juice was collected in separate tanks. The juice was separated from the fruit as quickly as possible, resulting in a lower colour spectrum and less tannins. The juice is then settled to help reduce the red pigment colour further. After settling the clean juice is inoculated with a pure yeast culture to maximise fruit expression on the final wine.
A pale rose gold colour greets the taster. Lime aromas are fused with ripe raspberry fruit. The nose shows a fullness with a lively refreshing element. Palate entrance of the Stolen Chicken Rosé is a salty mineral taste that adds to the linger of the first sip. This is followed by some spice and pomegranate flavours and an acidity that is balanced by the fullness of the palate. The wine is well balanced with a prominent linger of fruit sprinkled with salt. A lovely elegant summer wine.
This wine was crafted in honour of James, who really did steal a chicken from the side of the road, but was convinced that he had found it. “Who leaves their chickens on the side of the road?”
KUNJANI – SAUVIGNON BLANC 2018
The Sauvignon Blanc fruit is harvested from two vineyard blocks grown in the Paarl wine region. The blocks are between 10 and 15 years old and are under drip irrigation. The canopy is managed to ensure good fruit cover to help preserve the delicate Sauvignon Blanc flavours situated in the skin of the fruit whilst allowing good ventilation through the foliage. The two blocks provide different components to ensure a slightly more complex wine.
All fruit were handpicked in 20 kg lug boxes to ensure it reached the cellar intact and with minimum damage before processing. All fruit are hand sorted and only the best fruit is destined for pressing. During processing dry ice is employed at all stations after grape sorting to act as protection against oxygen that can eat away at all the beautiful Sauvignon Blanc aromas. A yeast culture is added to assist with fermentation and to bring all the true Sauvignon Blanc aromas and flavours to the fore. The finished wine is left on the lees for three months to build a full and lasting mid-palate weight.
A very light straw colour greets the taster. Inviting summer fruits of limes, sweet ripe granadilla and a hint of freshly sliced ripe papaya and green figs are expressed in the glass. The palate entrance is vibrant and refreshing yet balanced by ripe fruit which cuts through the zest. The intensity of the palate underpins the characteristic edginess of Sauvignon Blanc.
KUNJANI – CHENIN BLANC 2018
The fruit for the Kunjani Chenin Blanc 2018 were harvested from Paarl and Wellington. Sustainable fruit production is of utmost importance in these areas which are highly affected by drought. Cover crops help to eliminate weed competition but also keep the soil temperature up to 5 degrees cooler. Therefore, the water retained in the soil is used optimally by the vine. Canopy management includes a green harvest and the right number of shoots and leaves are maintained to ensure the desired aromas and flavours in the final wine. The two blocks ripened at different times, offering good blending options.
Fruit from both blocks were handpicked into 20 kg lug boxes. This protects the bunches against premature crushing. The fruit is hand sorted in the cellar to ensure only the best bunches are pressed. This Chenin Blanc is made in an oxidative way. The result is more structured, and the riper spectrum of flavours is displayed in the final wine. Both tanks were fermented at 15 to 16°C with a pure yeast culture. After fermentation, the yeast lees were stirred twice a week for 2 months, adding to the palate weight.
The Kunjani Chenin Blanc 2018 has a light straw colour with a deeper core. The palate entrance of the Chenin Blanc is smooth and fresh yet has the fullness to cut through the acidity. Baked apple and ripe yellow fruit fill the palate followed by lime and a light viscosity that adds to palate weight. The wine lingers with a burst of flavours and depth of structure.
KUNJANI – CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2017
The Cabernet is grown in the small ward of Devon Valley, Stellenbosch. Late ripening ensures longer hang time and under the cooler climatic influences good phenolic ripeness results in a ripe tannin structure. Good canopy management starts early in the growing season, to ensure sunlight reaches the tiny berries at pea stage, resulting in less herbaceous characters which are generally associated with Cabernet Sauvignon.
Bunches are handpicked at 25.5° Balling in 20kg lug boxes. On delivery to the cellar, bunches are hand sorted and divided into two tanks to provide two blending components. The fruit of both tanks are cold soaked while rack-and-returns are used to extract colour and tannins. Yeast is added to one of the tanks after the 4th day to enhance the fruit expression of the variety. The second tank fermented spontaneously until the last 5° Balling units are left when yeast is added to ensure the fermentation reaches complete dryness. The wine is transferred to barrel for the second fermentation where it is further matured for 14 months. A combination of 15% new French oak, 2nd and 3rd fill barrels were used for maturation.
The Kunjani Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 showcases a deep, dark garnet colour. Dark chocolates, mint and black currant are shown at first, followed by dried herbs, toasted oak and vanilla sweetness.
The palate entry portrays a ripe tannin structure followed by layers of black currants, tobacco and dark chocolate. The wine shows good intensity and depth of flavour that can carry the oak component which becomes evident on the aftertaste.
KUNJANI – SHIRAZ 2015
The fruit is grown in the Devon Valley ward on the Kunjani premises. Proper canopy management plays a vital role to ensure enough sunlight reaches the fruit for optimum Shiraz expression as well as good ventilation for ideal micro-climate within the canopy. All grapes are hand-picked to ensure only the best bunches are delivered to the cellar in 20 kg lug boxes.
All fruit are hand sorted and tank fermented with a pure yeast culture. Rack-and-returns are employed to ensure tannin stability and that needed oxygen is incorporated into the fermentation. It also allows for good colour extraction from the skins and a polished mouthfeel after fermentation. Wines are barrel fermented, after alcoholic fermentation, where a pure bacteria culture is added for the malolactic fermentation. Wine maturation takes place in a combination of 13% new French Oak barrels and the balance second and third fill French Oak barrels for 12 months.
An inviting nose of white pepper and paprika spice fused with black olives and a savoury soy sauce aroma. Soft palate entrance flows to an elegant tannin structure filled with spice and juicy fruit. The depth of the palate is enhanced by a sweet liquorice root impression whiles the touch of lime keeps the palate refreshed. The wine lingers with a combination of fruit and oak spice while the mineral salty element adds length on the finish.
KUNJANI – MERLOT 2017
The Merlot is grown in the small ward of Devon Valley, Stellenbosch. Devon Valley is slightly cooler than the Stellenbosch, resulting in later picking of the fruit. This longer hang time ensures that the fruit reaches phenolic ripeness. Any weed competition is eliminated with a cover crop that is also beneficial to the nutrient requirement of the vine.
Fruit is handpicked in 20kg lug boxes and delivered to the cellar early morning. Grapes are hand sorted and destemmed to eliminate any green matter. The fruit is cold soaked for 4 to 5 days while rack-and-returns are used as an extraction method. Good colour and tannin extraction are achieved before yeast is added. The fermentation temperatures are controlled at 23 to 24°C. After pressing, the wine is transferred to barrel for secondary fermentation where it is matured for a further 14 months. Only 13% of Oak is new and the balance is 2nd and 3rd fill French barrels.
The Kunjani Merlot 2017 shows a deep crimson colour. A beautiful complex fusion of sweet caramel, red bell peppers, tobacco and spice is shown on the nose. The wine’s palate entrance is smooth with ripe tannins that coats the palate. Layered flavours fill the mid-palate with dark fruit, tobacco and a spice element. The oak sweetness adds depth to the mid-palate and is carried by just enough lime acidity to keep the palate fresh. The wine has great intensity and concentration that adds to the linger on the aftertaste. A beautiful balance exist between the oak component, layered fruit, lime acidity and the liquorice expression from the alcohol.
It is here where good food, fine wine and luxurious accommodation combine to truly reflect the good life … and the true character of this spectacular place where love and passion are reflected in every creation.