Super Surprises at Super Single Vineyards
Experience 4.5 Stellenbosch Wine 4.5

Super Surprises at Super Single Vineyards

Thursday 27 June 2019

Experience: 4.5/5
Wines: 4.5/5

It is rare for me to find a wine estate I had not heard about before but Super Single Vineyards, the natural home of Mount Sutherland and Pella wines, was one. I have usually read about, seen on a map or sampled wines at a festival or annual competition tasting. But Super Single Vineyards, nothing. The name even was tantalisingly cryptic let alone that I had passed the winery many times before en route to nearby De Morgenzon, Jordan and a good friend at Sanddrift Guest House within the Stellenbosch Kloof on the ‘ou Kaapse hardepad’ (Afrikaans for the old Cape hard road).

Super Single Vineyards

Super Single Vineyards

The narrow entrance led down a sandy road over a rise and to a small parking area besides a white painted building with large old trees towering over. I was greeted by the aromatic scent of lavender as I opened the car door. There were no vineyards to be seen but instead low, soft mounded rows of lavender bushes with their purple spiked flowers. Canettevallei Lavender is the other side to the wine business. The bushes were planted in 2005 following a holiday to Provence in the South of France and used to make a range of products, including essential oils, dried sachets and bags, soaps, traditional Moskonfyt syrup, honey and fresh flowers.

Super Single Vineyards

I digress as I was super excited to see and taste the wines. Owner and winemaker Daniël de Waal met me in the small, comfortable Tasting Room in the converted outbuilding that also houses the boutique cellar. He explained that trips to Europe led to an interest in wines from Continental climates that contrast so much from the ever present Maritime and Mediterranean climates of the Western Cape. The Super Single Vineyards wines thus fall into 2 distinct ranges: the Pella Coastal brand and the Mount Sutherland Wines. Common to both collections is the search for exceptional single vineyards with perfect balance between cultivar, bush versus trellised vines, vine age, the right slope, soil depth and clay content, microclimate and other terroir elements.

Super Single Vineyards

Consequently, the Pella range – Pella means ‘place of gathering’ to signify the equilibrium between terroir and wine – contains a wide range of small batches of single variety wines from very specific, diverse locations that are made using common and less common grapes. The small quantities, ranging mostly from 400 to 900 bottles, meant that not all wines understandably were available for tasting or with bottle purchase limited to 1 bottle per person.

Super Single Vineyards

I began with the only white wine of the tasting, the Kanniedood Chenin Blanc from the Swartland. The ‘can’t die’ or ‘die hard’ Afrikaans name is well suited to the old dryland bush vines that yield only 2.5 tonnes of grapes per hectare. The shiny, medium straw coloured wine had delicate but intense aromas of fruity lemon, lime, pineapple and melon with white honey. The follow through was good for a fresh palate with a bright acidity and a creamy texture from malolactic fermentation, monthly lees stirring, and 12 months maturation in French and Hungarian oak.

Super Single Vineyards

Next was a Cinsaut, also from dryland, Swartland bush vines, that were grown on sandy, shale and clay soils on East-facing slopes. I had recently drunk a bottle of Bellevue Cinsaut but this was very different. Full bodied and deep ruby red in appearance, this wine was far from a low acidity, spicy Pinot Noir in character. Heavily extracted aromas (whole bunch fermented) of dark as well as red cherry, cranberry, blueberry, raspberry, cassis and white spice well balanced the emerging cedar and oak flavours on the palate, that was lighter than expected from the full bodied appearance.

Super Single Vineyards

The Verlatenkloof ‘desolate pass/valley’ Merlot was similarly interesting. I cannot recall having heard of non-irrigated Merlot bush vines before and these were some of the oldest in the country (planted in 1982) for highly concentrated fruits. The wine was unusual in having a green, almost minty character that complemented the pronounced red berry and currant fruits on the nose. The wine was powerful on the palate with plenty of fruity flavour (noting the stellar 2015 vintage) and rich mouthfeel and long finish.

Super Single Vineyards

Super Single Vineyards

Conversation with Daniël was easy as he explained the thinking and practice behind the making of each wine, together with the obvious temptation to experiment. The Merlot was styled on those from St-Émilion following time spent to study winemaking at Château Angélus. The last wine I tasted from the Pella Range was the Oukliprant Malbec from vines grown on an ‘old stone ridge’ in Stellenbosch in vineyards riddled with old Acheulean hand axes and stone artefacts. The cool climate and deep, weathered granitic soils make for a low yield (4 tonnes per hectare) and a full-bodied wine with a classic blue-purple colour. Intense red and dark plum, cherry and currant notes mingled with those of toast and cedar on the nose, aided by 15 months maturation in French oak that balanced well on the palate. This was another excellent wine and one for drinking with food.

Super Single Vineyards

The only wine available for tasting from the Mount Sutherland wine range was the Syrah that likewise was unusual and interesting. The Sutherland project is a fascinating story in itself as Daniël searched for a cool continental terroir. Vines were first planted in 2004 on a sheep farm at the foot of Sneeuberg near Sutherland in the arid Karoo. The farm is 350 kilometres from the ocean and 1,500 metres above sea level to make it the highest and coldest wine region in Africa, higher even than Cederberg Wines and Abingdon Wines (KZN Midlands) at 1,063 and 1,140 metres above sea level, respectively. Spring frosts risk damaging the young vine shoots (the first harvest was lost to frost) whilst the high altitude, high winds and clear skies keep temperatures below 32°C in daytime with significant diurnal variation (to as low as 5°C at night). The remoteness, dry conditions – snow melt water is plentiful from the Sneeuberg Mountain – and low winter temperatures mean there are no diseases and hence no need for pesticide or insecticide. I was surprised when Daniël compared the climate to that of the Rhône but interested to hear of his belief that the region is well suited to the famous continental European varieties. Small plantings of Pinot Noir, Tempranillo, Nebbiolo, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay have followed the initial plantings of Syrah.

Super Single Vineyards

The Syrah was my favourite wine of the tasting and quite different to any other South African Syrah or Shiraz I have tasted. Yielding just 3 tonnes per hectare from deep volcanic soils, the wine showed unusual smoky, graphite aromas and flavours to complement those of black plum, dark cherry and spicy, white pepper. The wine was very dry on the palate with a good balance between fruits and tannins. Youthful now (2016 vintage), it will age well.

Super Single Vineyards

Super Single Vineyards

I thoroughly enjoyed my tasting of Super Single Vineyards wines with Daniël. Other winemakers make small batches of reserve or limited release wines from their best grapes as part of their wider collection but I cannot think of another winery whose entire production is based on small quantities of such a wide range of varieties. It makes for a garagiste approach but at a very different level to that of small-scale Sonklip, established Bemind Wyne, value-for-money volume Leopard’s Leap, global brand Kumala wines at Flagstone, or even blend-specialist Paserene, all of whom buy in all their grapes. I particularly liked the detailed notes on each wine label as well as the level of information given on the website (akin to that of Jordan wines a few hundred metres away where I had tasted beforehand). The R80 tasting fee, which was waived on bottle purchase compared well with that of Spier (R90), my first tasting of the day, and like the wines offered excellent value for money. I shall certainly enjoy the wines I bought (I could have bought far more –  I bought a rare wooded Riesling too that was not for tasting) and shall visit again. Meanwhile, I shall watch the Mount Sutherland project with much interest.

Wines tasted (bought *):


2017 Pella Kanniedood Chenin Blanc – R160*
2014 Mount Sutherland Barrel Fermented Riesling – R220* (not tasted)


2015 Pella Cinsault – R160*
2015 Pella Verlatenkloof Merlot – R220
2014 Pella Oukliprant Malbec – R190
2016 Mount Sutherland Syrah – R280* FAVOURITE WINE

Super Single Vineyards

You Might Also Like

A Cape Wine Master-class

Delaire Graff Wines Sparkle

Idiom Wines Make a Statement

How Do You Grow a Vineyard Like Maria?

Hidden Valley and Its Wines are Revealed

Wine Passions Mounted at Cavalli

Grand Wines at the Big Top!

The Ladies in Red

A Myth, a Princess, History and Destruction, 2 Names and 4 Styles – Shiraz with Pizzazz

Water into Wine at Uitkyk

Idiom Puts on a Festival Master Class

Swiss Family Sauvignons at Eikendal

Exciting, Excellent Keermont

Nala Wines are Well Engineered in the Vineyard

Grape Fun – Stomping Well Worth the Journey!

Wines from the Orchards at Le Pommier

DeWaal Sits Atop the Pinotage Hill

Individual Quality at Jordan

Perfection is Attainable at Boschkloof Wines

Swallowing Fine Wines at Paserene

A Sparkling Tasting at Charles Fox

Hard Graft without Grafts at Abingdon Wines – No Hail to the Monkeys

Virgin Whites Led Me into the Last Temptation

All Green at Villiera

A Family Occasion – the Story behind the Bottle

Simonsig Excellence Today with a Traditional Legacy

1 Night, 7 Oaks, 3 Wine Tastings for Visit 2!

Altitudes with Wine!

Masses of Fun and a little Chaos at the Ambeloui Harvest Festival

Kosie Wynes at Groenland

Kept Alone at Kaapzicht

One Day, Three Tastings, Five Wines and Seven Sisters

Bartinney Clings to the Mountain

Marching into France

Excellent Unstated Wines and Service – Naturally!

Same but Different End to the Diploma Lectures

South over the Hills in Elgin

Saxenburg Puts Heart, Mind and Soul into Its Wines

Scary Jan Harmsgat Delivers Elegant Wines

The Early Bird Catches the Wine

Magnifico – Grazie Mille Idiom!

The Bestbier Family produces Best Wines at Goede Hoop

Quoin Rock Gently Roars at Knorhoek

Englishman Meets Mrs English at Classic Lanzerac

Mulderbosch didn’t quite Meet the Yardstick

Linga-ring in a Winery in Malawi

God Bless Slaley and All who Drink with Her

Anysbos a Wine Estate to Look Out For

Putting Capelands on the Cape Winelands Map!

Wines Merely to Lust After

Diemersdal has Six Appeal

Morgenhof in the Morning

Golden Wines at the End of the Rainbow

Ruddy Red and Blanc Sauvignons

Perdeberg Earns Its Stripes

Neil’s Vines on the Tr-Ellis in Stellenbosch

Superb Whites in the Near Dark at Mont Blois

Waterf-ord More Ord-inary Than Extra-ord-inary

Class in Glass at Glenelly

Back to the Future in the Berg of Paarl

Rickety Tram Passengers at Rickety Bridge

New Branding for Old-enburg is Perfect

In the Vineyard with Beyerskloof

Fish (and other foods) with Wanda!

‘Out of the Office’ at Groot Constantia

Villion Pairs with Barton in Bot Rivier

The Garagiste in the Garage at Sonklip!

Lithos Wines Soar above Mountain and Forest

Seven Reasons To Visit Seven Oaks Wines

Mooi Mooi Mooi Mooiplaas

Made by Wade, Metzer Hugely Impressed

Mutual Attraction

Alto Reaches Heights with the M.P.H.S.

Pastures Anew at Rustenberg

Grape Expectations are Met at Zevenwacht

Second Helping – and Tasting – at Oak Valley

Wines Out of the Barrel at Kanonkop

Com-fort-able Wines at Fort Simon

Always a Favourite – Guaranteed to Delight

Only One JC Le Roux Wine Sparkled and Scintilla-ted

Lemberg Punches Above its Weight

Warwick Wines Win their Colours

Classic(al) to Barrique – De Morgenzon Hits all the Right Notes

Simple Spier

The Big Easy Tee’s Off in the Vineyard

Lost and Found at Lomond – 100s!

Satisfaction in Getting My Ducks (and Wines) in a Row

Franschhoek’s Hidden Gem Is Reluctant to Reveal

Oh-MG at Anthonij Rupert

Red, Red (Spanish) Wine

Lovane Serves its Guests Well

Hout Bay Vineyards – Simply the Best!

Sylvan Vale Wines Good for a Meeting or an Eating

Syrah Pillars of Excellence at Haskell

History in Every Glass at Overgaauw

Excelsior Blends Quality with Price

Multi-Faceted Wines on Display at the Vineyard

Maiden Visit to Lord’s Bowled Me Over

Superb De Trafford Worthy of Being My 200th Wine Estate

I-own-a Wine Farm!

Cork and Talk with Dave

Latching onto Superb Wines at De Grendel

Good Things Come in Twos – at Southern Right too!

Peace but No Rest for Rust en Vrede

Peter Falke Didn’t Knock my Socks Off

Where Eagles Care

Elgin Valley is the Cool Wine Tour

Malverne Dis-Clos-ed

The Italian Collection at the Vineyard

Where the Lions Roar in the Wild West of Bot Rivier

Quality with Style in the Vineyard

King Chenin Kens (Knows) the Wood from the Trees


Real Wines in the Place of God

Pedigree Stud Grub at Cavalli

From Palette to Palate to Muratie

Bracing Brakes on the Red Wines at Remhoogte

Dornier Disappoints

Bellville to Bellevue to Belle Wines

On Yonder Hill There Stands a Vineyard!

Hearty Food and Wine Brought by the Stork at Hartenberg

Blaauwklippen was Good for a Friday

It’s all Art and Wine at Almenkerk

Stellenrust Eagerly Impresses

Classy, Small and Precious Kleinood

Eq-wine – Fine Wines and Fast Horses!

Barrels of Fun at My First Stellenbosch Street Soirée

Laibach Shows its Spots

High Living on the Stoep Sipping Aged, Luscious Red Wines

Red and White Cab – and So Much More – at Asara

Opening the Book at Elgin Vintners

Clouds Reign in Stellenbosch

Wines to Love on Love Street

Keermont Farmhouse Redefines Luxury

Wines Made to Stand the Taste of Time

Wine Dinners are Not For Me

Red and White Wines with Frog’s ‘Legs’

A Kleine Experience at Zalze

Pinotage Hits a Purple Patch in Paarl

Well and Truly Oaked!

Superb Views of Guardian Peak

Sax ‘n’ Berg at the Vineyard

K-eynote W-ines at the V-ineyard

Hazendal Fit for a Tsar, a Hare and a God of Wine

Peter Puts into Hermanus

Wonderful Grapes at the Vineyard Hotel

A Cracker and a Stormer at Paul Wallace

The Phoenix Rises from the Terroir at Thelema

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *