THE AMAZING ADVENT OF SPRINGFIELD’S ALBARIñO
Going, going gone! It could be something of a record: The Bruwer family launched their maiden Albariño in Hout Bay on the first Monday in February and by mid-month the last of the 600 cases had sold, both from cellar door and the online shop.
Frustrating both to those Springfield wine fans who didn’t move fast enough and to newcomers who thought they would sample the new addition on their next visit to Robertson.
Better news is that the 2019 vintage is likely to be a little larger in quantity – the grapes were harvested yesterday, February 13, so let me tell you more about this irresistible white wine that the Bruwer family enjoy as much as do those lucky customers who hugging their case closely to their chests...
Albariño is a new cultivar – new that is to the Cape winelands - but a Spanish varietal widely grown in Galicia, in the north-west. It made its
way to Portugal where it's known as Alvarinho, used in vinho verde, familiar to legions of South African travellers to Mozambique, and also to South America where Uruguay produces a fine example, and one that enchanted the Bruwer family while on holiday there. They returned, determined to acquire some vines for their farm.
Luck was on their side as the Newton Johnson family of the Hemel-en-Aarde valley had had similar ideas and kindly offered Springfield some of their cuttings.
These were carefully planted and nurtured, slowly multiplying over three years until a single block was established, and one that meets the demanding standards that Springfield estate sets for their grapes.
Earlier this month Abri, Jeanette and Jenna Bruwer gathered at Hout Bay to host curious media to the official launch of their limited edition Springfield Albariño 2018, its retro front label eye-catching, brick-red writing on a cream background, the language of choice pertinently Spanish, with just a strap at the bottom in English, identifying this unique Robertson estate.
This is a full-bodied wine, yet pleasing in having alcohol levels of just 12,5% . It is unwooded, the grapes having been harvested exactly a year ago. The wine spent more than 3 months on primary lees before bottling. There is complexity in its structure, offering the palate a delightful balance of stone fruit and the flint that wines from this terroir usually display. It’s also as fresh as a daisy without being over-acidic: All in all this South African Albariño yields mouthfuls of deliciousness that are a little redolent of the ocean: one does not need a dish of prawns on the table to know that it will partner shellfish with panache. But it also makes a charming aperitif and I imagine that the Uruguayan Albariño would have a tough time competing with its Cape counterpart.
Just 6 000 bottles of numbered bottles were produced, selling at R115 a bottle from the cellar door. Perhaps Springfield will start a waiting list after harvest for the 2019 vintage - happily they have assured us that their journey with Albariño has only just begun.