The future stars of South Africa wine

05 February 2016

The future stars of South Africa wine

We are delighted to have added Tim Martin Wines, Gabriëlskloof and Spice Route to our South Africa portfolio – three estates that illustrate why so much excitement is being generated by premium South African wine.

With just 6,000 bottles in total from his impressive first vintage in 2014, Tim Martin’s production is boutique in scale but huge in potential. A former City worker who decided that all he “really wanted to do with my life was make wine”, Tim produces two dry farmed, single vineyard wines from Swartland (the ‘Chad’ Chenin Blanc and the organically farmed ‘Qaisar’ Mourvèdre) as well as an ageworthy Chenin Blanc from the ‘Mothership’ vineyard in Paarl, which he personally farms and is in conversion to biodynamic agriculture. Minimal intervention in the winery includes the use of traditional basket presses, wild yeast fermentation, and large oak casks up to 2,000 litres.

Gabriëlskloof is another winery to watch. This beautiful estate with 68 hectares of sustainably farmed vineyards near Bot River in the heart of the Overberg region was purchased in 2001 by Bernhard Heyns, producing its first vintage in 2009. However, with Bernhard’s son-in-law Peter-Allan Finlayson (of Crystallum) taking over as winemaker from the 2015 vintage, the wines are expected to see a change in style and step up in quality. Peter-Allan’s first 2015 release – a zippy aromatic Sauvignon Blanc – displays a complexity and concentration that reflect the seven different low-yielding blocks on tough rocky sandstone and shale soils from which it is sourced. Two additional whites and a rosé will be released this spring, with reds to follow in the autumn.

A perennial favourite from Charles Back, Spice Route joins its stablemate Fairview in the Liberty Wines portfolio. Established in 1998, Spice Route was a pioneer in the Swartland and remains one of this premier region’s most outstanding and respected producers, boasting an unusually substantial 100 hectares of their own vineyards in Malmesbury and Darling. The flagship ‘Amos Block’ hails from South Africa’s oldest Sauvignon Blanc vineyard, planted in 1965, while the signature ‘Chakalaka’ (a blend of 50% Syrah with Mourvèdre, Petite Sirah, Carignan, Grenache and Tannat) is named after South Africa’s traditional spice blend – a similarly harmonious fusion of flavours that embodies the country’s diversity.

David Gleave MW, managing director at Liberty Wines, says: “During a trip to South Africa last year, I was seriously impressed and genuinely excited by the revitalisation of the country’s wine scene. Incredible talents like Tim Martin, Peter-Allan Finlayson and Charl du Plessis – who has worked with Charles Back for 15 years – have an intricate knowledge of their regions, total control over their estate grown fruit and a ‘hands off’ attitude to winemaking. Their resulting wines are a revelation - beautifully crafted, authentic expressions of their land, with an emphasis on balance over power – which we have been compelled to add to our list.

The new South African wines currently available through Liberty Wines are:


Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (stelvin)   

Spice Route

The Amos Block Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (stelvin)

Grenache 2014 

Mourvèdre 2014

Chakalaka 2013        

Tim Martin Wines

Chad Chenin Blanc 2014                                                                               

Mothership Chenin Blanc 2014                                                                      

Qaisar Mourvèdre 2014


If you would like any more information on these wines, please get in touch with your usual contact or email [email protected]