The latest updates from the UK's leading wine specialist

André Van RensburgEvery vineyard has its own individual story, but some are truly unique. We interviewed a genuine one-off – the man behind the winery voted South Africa’s finest for five consecutive years.

Interview with André Van Rensburg

Q. What are the hardest and most enjoyable things about being a wine producer?

A. The hardest is definitely the long hours – both in summer and winter – only to see all that work destroyed by a storm. The most enjoyable is the purity and soul cleansing of honest labour.

Q. What is your favourite grape variety and why?

A. Most definitely Cabernet Sauvignon. Most wines need good food to complement them but good Cabernet is a good meal in itself.

Vergelegen WinesQ. How has the South African wine industry changed since the end of the Apartheid era, and how do you envisage the future?

A. Firstly, we can now sell our wine anywhere and wine students can work anywhere in the world, which was not possible before the end of apartheid. There is a wider variety of styles and the wines are riper, healthier, better. The Cape is the best place on this planet to grow grapes and with virus free vineyards – older and better – the future will be absolutely great!

Q. Have you seen the effects of global warming on your wine producing so far? What do you see happening in the future?

A. We see changes in rainfall patterns, our summers are definitely not as hot and most disturbingly, winters are warmer. I have also seen Bat Ear foxes on the property; they normally inhabit semi-desert areas, so that is alarming. Whether this can be ascribed to global warming or just a warmer period, I don’t know. But Vergelegen is a sacred place and we need to protect it as much as possible against an uncertain future.

Q. If you had to describe yourself as a wine what would you be?

A. Cabernet Sauvignon – great complexity, substance, long aftertaste and incredible potential for further maturation.

Q. What is the most you have ever paid for a bottle of wine?

A. About R2,500 (£205) for a 1982 Château Mouton Rothschild.

Vergelegen Vineyard

Vergelegen ‘Mill Race’ Cabernet Merlot 2006, Stellenbosch
£10.99 or £7.99 when you buy 2 bottles*

A superb value Bordeaux blend displaying excellent structure, balance and finely grained tannins. Ripe berry and plum fruits are beautifully enhanced by silky chocolate and coffee flavours.

Vergelegen Chardonnay 2008, Stellenbosch
£10.99 or £7.99 when you buy 2 bottles*

Aged and fermented in French oak barrels, this is a rich, buttery, full-bodied  Chardonnay capable of matching a wide range of food, particularly roast poultry.

Vergelegen Sauvignon Blanc 2008, Western Cape
£10.99 or £7.99 when you buy 2 bottles*

Gooseberries, figs, elderflower and clean-cut grass are just a few of the flavours in abundance here. Perfectly balanced with a racy acidity, mineral structure and long, elegant finish.

*All prices valid until 1st February 2010

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