Viljoen set to bring grand things to Grande Provence

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - SPORT - Joseph Booy­sen

HAGEN Viljoen, an ac­com­plished wine­maker, has been ap­pointed the head of the wine­mak­ing team at Grande Provence, the land­mark her­itage wine es­tate in Fran­schhoek.

His ap­point­ment was an­nounced last week.

Stel­len­bosch Univer­sity’s Viti­cul­ture and Oenol­ogy grad­u­ate, who has 12 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional cel­lars, takes over the wine­mak­ing re­spon­si­bil­i­ties early next month.

Viljoen will take over the reins at the iconic 300-year-old wine es­tate from Matthew van Heer­den, who has left to pur­sue his own wine in­ter­ests.

Viljoen has ex­ten­sive in­ter­na­tional knowl­edge and has com­pleted in­tern­ships in Men­do­cino in the US, Marl­bor­ough in New Zealand, the Barossa Valley in Aus­tralia and Saint-Émil­ion in France.

He says wine is in­deli­bly in­ter­twined in his destiny, both per­son­ally and pro­fes­sion­ally. He ded­i­cates his spare time to ex­plor­ing wine, food and the out­doors, ide­ally si­mul­ta­ne­ously with friends and fam­ily.

Viljoen is work­ing on a range of sig­na­ture wines, pro­duced at The Grande Provence Win­ery.

He says that beyond the pop­u­lar sau­vi­gnon blanc, the range also boasts viog­nier/chenin blanc, chardon­nay, shi­raz and caber­net sau­vi­gnon, the es­tate’s flag­ship wines.

Viljoen says the Grande Provence Red and Grande Provence White en­joy wide crit­i­cal acclaim. One of the new ad­di­tions, the Grande Provence Am­phora is a chenin blancbased blend from one of the old­est vine­yards in Fran­schhoek.

He says the chenin blanc is one of the con­nois­seurs’ favourites as it is fer­mented in four 400-litre Tus­can clay am­phorae, capturing at least 6 000 years of wine­mak­ing his­tory, dat­ing back to the an­cient Greeks and Ro­mans, and has set a new bench­mark for this style of wine.

Grande Provence has re­cently added an in­trigu­ing new zin­fan­del to its range of reds and there are new ad­di­tions to the Méth­ode Cap Clas­sique range on the hori­zon, says Viljoen.

The wine es­tate also pro­duces the An­gels Tears range, ac­ces­si­ble, un­com­pli­cated qual­ity quaf­fers that are easy on the palate and great value for money.

Viljoen at­tributes his past achieve­ments to team­work, us­ing fruit from metic­u­lously sourced vine­yards, in­no­va­tive blend­ing and the con­stant pur­suit of ex­press­ing the char­ac­ter­is­tics of the grapes bet­ter.

He says he is a big fan of UK wine doyen Jan­cis Robin­son for his Pieke­nier­skloof grenache and has used his 18/20 score method for all four wines shown to Tim Atkin in his SA Spe­cial Re­port, with 95 points awarded to Solms-Delta Amalie 2015.

This, he says, has been the high­light of his ca­reer as a wine­maker.

“For me bal­ance is a key el­e­ment in any great wine and I be­lieve in trans­lat­ing the po­ten­tial found in the vine­yard in a man­ner that re­spects the fruit and re­flects the char­ac­ter of its ori­gin.”

The mar­ried fa­ther of three-yearold twin girls, Hanna and Kate, says his big­gest pas­sion is the North­ern Rhône wine re­gion in France and he loves wines of pu­rity and ele­gance.

Viljoen says he has been very for­tu­nate to work with some out­stand­ing parcels of fruit sourced across the Cape Winelands and wel­comes the new chal­lenges at Grande Provence.

“I am ex­cited about the po­ten­tial in the Grande Provence wine range and look for­ward to ex­plor­ing its fur­ther devel­op­ment with the team. Fran­schhoek has fan­tas­tic semil­lon, which would be in­ter­est­ing to pos­si­bly in­tro­duce into the sig­na­ture Grande Provence White blend.”

Grande Provence wine­maker Hagen Viljoen.

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