This year marks a truly rare and historic milestone for South Africa’s iconic Allesverloren Wine Estate. It was 150 years ago that the Malan Family acquired the land that has been under its custodianship ever since.
And of course, they are celebrating this milestone in just the right way – the release of a new wine.
This year also marks the end of Allesverloren’s successful 53-year distribution contract with Distillers Corporation, now Distell.
To commemorate the occasion, Allesverloren has released a reserve wine that enshrines its proud heritage as one of the country’s oldest wineries.
Named after the late Fanie Malan, father of current cellarmaster and fifth-generation owner Danie Malan, the Fine Old Vintage Reserve port-style wine makes a proud addition to an exceptional portfolio. It was in 1972 that Fanie Malan made the first wine under the Allesverloren brand.
Allesverloren is famous as a maker of quality port-style wines, a style it once specialised in exclusively. Over time however, it has become renowned for its premium quality, red wines made from Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Touriga Nacional and Tinta Barocca too; and, its single vineyard estate Muscadel.
Its renowned wines include the flagship Très Vermelhos, a blend of three reds; and Tinta Rosé, a rosé blend with Tinta Barocca as the dominant variety. More recently, a bushvine Chenin Blanc was added to the range too.
“We’ve always released a Fine Old Vintage Reserve when exceptionally good vintages justified its making,” says Danie Malan. “The 2014 vintage, which has developed in bottle until release now as the Fanie Malan, was just such a year.”
The Fanie Malan Fine Old Vintage Reserve 2014 was made by Danie and a close friend to Fanie, the late Sakkie Kotze. Sakkie was the winemaker at Le Bonheur. After his retirement in 2013, he decided to make one last wine in honour of his friend.
He selected each barrel – only older French oak barrels of the highest quality – and the wine was matured in them for six years prior to bottling in 2020. Sakkie never got to see the creation; he passed away in 2015.
A deep well of velvet red, the wine draws one in with delicious aromas of blackberry, prunes, chocolate, and dried fruit on an alluring backdrop of oak spice. Maturation has given the palate complexity and integration while maintaining a display of more dark fruit and cocoa. Each sip concludes with a long and satin-smooth finish.
Naming a wine after his father has been overdue, says Danie. “Allesverloren’s heart and soul is pioneering work done by people like Fanie Malan. Despite being the biggest supplier of port-style wine to the KWV – then still a legislated industry regulator – he broke away to successfully establish Allesverloren as an independent entity.
“He was also a new generation winemaker that was amongst others first to plant Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc in the Swartland.
“That which many people thought taboo, my father proved as wrong.”
Today, Allesverloren is still overseen by Danie and his wife Juanita, with experienced winemaker Wilhelm de Vries at the helm of crafting its fine wines. The Malan’s daughter, Danielle, is responsible for marketing, and son, Fanie, is responsible for farm management.
The estate comprises 272 hectares sprawled along the northeast slopes of the Kasteelberg Mountain. It is exclusively dedicated to wine grape farming, with 115 hectares under vineyard. They thrive in soils of decomposed shale, clay and alluvium, and microclimates that vary from the coolness of ravines to warmer reaches beyond.
“Minimalist” is how Fanie describes his approach to nurturing the land. “With a nature-orientated approach, you achieve balance and a sustainable yield because the environment is healthy,” he says.
Fanie works closely with Wilhelm in the winery, studying analyses of soils, climate, water and the wines in pursuit of understanding how changes in the vineyards affect the essence of the wines.
As for Wilhelm’s style, he “likes to keep things simple”, with his sights on consistent quality, making wine that is “healthy” and finding that sweet spot of wine enjoyable now but able to mature too.
He plies his trade in a cellar that shows the march of time. Open fermenter tanks that are traditional to port-making, sit side by side with the gleaming stainless steel of contemporary vessels. In some ways, it’s a reflection of Allesverloren’s reputation for timeless classics and exciting new experiences too.
The farm welcomes visitors through its events venue, and the famous Pleasant Pheasant restaurant.
It’s heritage-protected wine tasting room overlooks the vineyards and buzzes over weekends. It’s open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm and Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 3pm.
Allesverloren’s wines are available across the country and through its online store, located with information about the historic estate, at allesverloren.co.za.
The Fanie Malan Vintage Reserve sells for R499/bottle.
For more information, call 022 461 2589.