Zonnebloem`s Laureat gets a new look

Zonnebloem’s flagship red blend, Laureat, sports a new label on its 2010 vintage. The new look, that is strikingly different from its earlier iterations, also better distinguishes the specialty wine from the core range, says global marketing manager Deidre Samson.

This Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot-dominated blend, takes its name from the laurel conferred in ancient times on those deemed worthy of the distinction. The label is indeed striking! Each pictorial element of the label is a reflection of an important element of Zonnebloem’s history.

The lion is derived from the Malherbe coat of arms, whose family gave the name Zonnebloem to the Simondium farm. The gable on the label represents the homestead of Petrus Jacobus Malherbe’s second son, Willem Andries, who named his part of the farm Zonnebloem after his father devided the piece of land between him and his brother.

In 1893 Zonnebloem was bought by Frederik JJ Furter and for the next few generations the family was closely bound up with the history of the farm. Frederik’s son, also Willem, established a reputation for producing wine of excellence, winning many prizes and export contracts. Sadly, he died at the height of his career in 1940, but his descendants continued in his tradition. His daughter, Marie, excelled at the annual Cape Wine Show, without any formal training and later she also taught her sister’s husband, John de Villiers to make wine. He acquired the farm and applied the De Villiers family crest to the Zonnebloem label, as well as its motto: La Main a l’oeuvre, meaning the “hand that works”, that has always been the main feature of the Zonnebloem label.  Now the label also includes a lamb that appears on the De Villiers family crest.

Winemaker Bonny van Niekerk Van Niekerk says she has made the wine as a tribute to her predecessors. “Knowing of the new label and its intentions, I thought very much about the characters who played such a pivotal role in Zonnebloem’s past when I was making up this blend. Although they all inspire me, I have to admit that Marie Furter is the personality who stands out most for me. She was just 21 when she took over from her late father in 1940 with such success. If she had lived today, she would have been able to pursue her gift for winemaking without any question but in her time winemaking was very much a male-dominated terrain. That she trained first her brother-in-law and then her husband and both achieved such outstanding results is a real testimony to her talent.”

All the grapes used in the wine was hand-picked from a range of top-performing farms in Stellenbosch. According to Bonny, the berries were smaller than average owing to the vintage conditions of 2010. The result? An excellent skin to fruit ratio and concentrated colour and flavour.

The grapes from every vineyard block were individually vinified, and aged for 14 months in a combination of first- and second-fill French and Hungarian oak.

Upon tasting the wine we discovered fragrances of blackcurrant and dark chocolate literally jump out of the glass. All four participants present at the tasting agreed that it’s an extremely enjoyable wine that shows great elegance and structure. It also offers great value for money at R65 a bottle.