The Butlers warmly extended an invitation to my husband and me to come and taste their fine wine in the comfort of their own home, after hearing about each other via a mutual friend. It was a cold Sunday afternoon and we were ready to taste their amazing creations. We sat on their porch, each with a lovely glass of red wine, ending off the weekend graciously.
Brendan and Kristi live on Monte Cavalo Stud farm just outside Paarl, overlooking Spice Route. They met while both working at a wine farm and yes well the rest is history seeing as they are now happily married for two years. Kristi is the farm manager at Monte Cavalo and Brendan’s day job is wine-maker at Mount Vernon. But in their spare time, they created an incredible tasting, easy flowing affordable fine wine collection – “The Butler’s Fine wine”.
We tasted (let me rather say “properly” tasted) the Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon and loved it so much we wanted to buy a whole box! But unfortunately, the Cab Sauv has sold out. They made a limited quantity of 650 bottles of which they now only have a few left at home. It was so popular that it flew out and now we have to patiently wait for the next batch! There is something about drinking wine that you cannot find on a store shelf or on a restaurant menu. It makes it feel exclusive and that you should enjoy every sip because you might not ever get the chance again!
Brendan explains a bit more about the wines:
The Cabernet Sauvignon also know as “Good times”
is sourced from the Upper Hemel-en-Aarde with basking views over the Atlantic. This region is classified as cool climate and as such the grapes are afforded a longer hang time (the period where grapes hang on the vine prior harvest) enabling the optimal evolution of flavour, tannin and fruit acid over a longer period of time. The cool climate of the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley also allows for the retention of natural fruit acids in the wine contributing to a fresh, structured wine with low alcohol levels, in this instance 12.5% ABV.
In addition to this, the individual berries are tiny (slightly larger than blueberries), as such increasing the skin: juice ratio, thus contributing to a flavour profile characterised by vibrant red and black berries; a dark, dense wine colour and juicy, supple tannins. They place emphasis on the perfect balance (alcohol, acidity and tannins) and purity of fruit.
A total of 650 bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon were produced retailing at R110/bottle.
The Syrah named “Serious Times”
The Syrah is sourced from a highly prized vineyard block in Riebeek Kasteel and in keeping with their philosophy of elegance and finesse, the grapes are harvested at lower sugar levels (22.5°B) so as to produce a wine displaying vibrant red berry fruit, perfume, spice and all things nice in addition to lower wine alcohol levels, in this instance 13.5% ABV. The colour pigments of red wines are located in the skins (barring a few unique cultivars that have an inherent red juice), and as such the juice (must) is fermented on the skins. As we aim to produce a more classic Rhône-styled Syrah, we predominantly make use of pump overs – the process of drawing juice from the bottom of the fermentation tank and pump it over the skins, these being undertaken every 4-5 hours during the course of fermentation.
Both the ‘Good Times Cabernet Sauvignon’ and ‘Serious Times Syrah’ are matured in seasoned French oak barrels for 14 months before bottling. As we wish to reflect the unique virtues of the vineyards from which we source our grapes, we have adopted a minimal interventionist approach and as such the wines are not subject to any additions barring a tiny amount of sulphur.
A total of 850 bottles of Syrah were produced retailing at R110/bottle.
They are introducing their 2015 Hemel & Aarde Syrah soon, as it has just been bottled.
“A truly amazing wine that epitomizes our interpretation of cool climate Syrah.”
They are also keen to include a Riesling and White Bordeaux blend (Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon) in due course.
Brendan explains the future of Butler’s wines as just the beginning of a long adventure in a unique and dynamic industry. They are truly excited what the future will bring. He lives by the philosophy that one should aim for the moon, because should you miss, you will land among the stars…
Otherwise, you are welcome to contact the winemakers themselves at 082 825 9097 or 071 685 8189 or on Facebook.