Overgaauw wine estate
More than a century old, this historic fourth-generation-owned Stellenbosch wine estate is one of the ‘first families of Cape wine’, and boasts a laudable reputation as ‘leader of the pack’ (John Platter’s South African Wine Guide 2001). While Overgaauw is synonymous with innovation – most recently reflected in the release of top-quality new vintages across the Overgaauw wine range, all sporting brand new labels - the team is careful not to allow modernization to detract from their rich legacy.
Overgaauw’s many ‘firsts’ in the industry establish the historically rich estate as eminently pioneering. The illustrious estate has the following litany of claims to fame: the first South African estate to bottle a varietal Merlot (in 1982); joint-first to produce Cape Bordeaux-style Blends; among the first Chardonnay producers; the only producer, since 1971, of the full-bodied, aromatic and spicy Sylvaner; the inaugural estate to break the R1000/case plateau at the 1994 CIWG Auction; among the first to mature Cabernet Sauvignon in French barriques in 1970; the maiden estate to plant Portuguese Port cultivars and the first estate to drop the contentious name ‘Port’ from their labels in 1996.
Fourth-generation winemaker and University of Stellenbosch graduate, David Van Velden’s youthful energy and passion and an enviable legacy of a century of winemaking and excellent Stellenbosch Kloof terroir served him exceedingly well when he took over the reins at Overgaauw in 2007. “Experience and some school fees helped me identify a clear view of what I would like to achieve. First and foremost is a continuous focus on expressing a sense of place in all our wines and increase the purity and cleanliness of fruit in our wines across the range. This is what our unique terroir deserves and I guess the three generations before me expect as well. I want to express fresh and cleaner Overgaauw fruit identity in the reds and mid palate fruit and balance in the white wines.” And this is certainly evident in the new Overgaauw red and white wine releases.
Overgaauw is located on the hillsides west of Stellenbosch, in the Stellenbosch Kloof area, with altitudes ranging from 100 to 220 meters above sea level. The estate’s 70ha of vineyards are planted east/west and are south-facing in the direction of the Atlantic Ocean and False Bay, which is just 15 km away. Cool afternoon maritime breezes during the summer months bring down the average temperature and protection from the South Easter by the Helderberg mountains enable the stomata of the leaves to continue their work undisturbed: all contributing to the development of the intense flavours found in the grapes at Overgaauw.
The original cellar was built in 1909 and still forms an integral part of the current cellar facilities. Through the decades expansion and renovation have ensured that the wines made in the cellar continue to optimise the richness of fruit the vineyard has to offer, fusing modern winemaking techniques with 100 years of experience.
The unique Overgaauw terroir offers the gift of natural high acids. By harvesting the white grapes at full ripeness in the cool morning hours the full varietal characteristics come to the fore, delivering wines of excellent balance. To further obtain the maximum flavour from the grapes the Sauvignon Blanc for example undergoes a 6 hour pre-soak on the skins before pressing. All the red varietals undergo a pre-soak on the skins for anything from 10 to 24 hours prior to fermentation this ensures maximum colour extraction and imparts extra flavour. Depending on the style of wine being made the red wines could be fermented in any of the following three ways; Roto-tank, open fermenting or tank fermentation complemented with pump-overs. The extended maceration on the skins for the red wines after fermentation results in more weight and a softer fuller mouth feel due to the polymerisations of the harsher tannins producing wines of depth and elegance.