Du Toitskloof Wine Makers Set-Off on a Quest for Greatness

The search for that elusive perfect wine is a never-ending journey, yet one which every wine maker feels compelled to undertake.

This vision and sense of discovery lies behind the Quest range of wines from Du Toitskloof Winery in the Breedekloof region. Comprising two red wines inspired by the great wines of Bordeaux and the Rhône, Du Toitskloof’s wine making team set off beyond the traditional borders of the Breedekloof in search of grapes capable of producing premium wines that can stake their claim as being among the best that South Africa has to offer.

“At Du Toitskloof we believe in allowing our wine makers to express themselves,” says Marius Louw, CEO of Du Toitskloof. “Quest is thus an apt name for a range of wines made at our home in the Breedekloof, but using fruit the team sourced from specially selected pockets of terroir in other regions. They were given free reign, and the result is two wines worthy of the term ‘classic’. They also represent a new chapter in Du Toitskloof history which now sees us offering products in the fine wine market along with our established range of value-for-money wines of quality.”

Both the Rhône and the Bordeaux blends in the Quest range – 2011 vintage – are named Heroes Journey. The Rhône blend (Heroes Journey 2) is a two-way blend of Shiraz (81%) and Mourvèdre, with the Shiraz component a combination of fruit from selected vineyards in Durbanville and Paarl.

According to Du Toitskloof wine maker Willie Stofberg, who created the brand along with cellar master Shawn Thomson, Shiraz from two regions were used to obtain specific varietal characters in one component. “The cooler Durbanville area gives floral notes, while the Paarl grapes offer structure and succulence on the mid-palate,” says Stofberg.

The Mourvèdre grapes were sourced from Durbanville to impart earthy, soft red-fruit aromas to the final blend.

“When it came to wood maturation, we followed the same uncompromising commitment to quality as during the sourcing of the grapes and in the vinification process,” says Stofberg. “The components spent an average of 20 months in new French oak to add structure and dimension without any signs of overt oaking,” he says.

The result is a wine of elegance and power with a plush dark fruit core off-set by notes of spice, flowers and liquorice.

The Quest Heroes Journey 1 is a three-way Bordeaux-style blend led by Cabernet Sauvignon complemented by the deft addition of Merlot and Petit Verdot.

“Myself and Shawn travelled far and wide for the Cabernet Sauvignon we were looking for, and found it in Darling,” says Stofberg. “The berries were small and tight and from the outset the juice exuded complexity and balance.”

Cabernet Sauvignon makes-up 76% if of the blend, with the Merlot and Petit Verdot contributing 12% each. Both the latter varieties were sourced from individual vineyards in Stellenbosch for their ability to add a different dimension to the Cabernet Sauvignon, while ensuring a wine of perfect harmony.

“Once again, wooding was in new French oak for an average of 20 months, the intensity of the fruit being more than capable of standing-up to the virgin barrels,” says Stofberg. “As is the case in any quest, one is met with a revelation, and in this case it was the quality of the Cabernet Sauvignon from Darling. The cool climate gives a longer ripening period, allowing the grapes to draw immense nuance from the soil and surrounding climate. The Merlot and Petit Verdot adds flair and grace, and the result is a Bordeaux blend we believe can hold its own in any company.

“Yes, that quest to greatness is never over for a wine maker, but with these wines we are making progress I would call satisfactory,” he says.

The Du Toitskloof Quest range is available at the Du Toitskloof Winery in Rawsonville.