Hannes Nel of Lourensford Estate
Way back when it was a country retreat for the likes of Willem Adriaan van der Stel, magnificently situated Lourensford was part of the neighbouring Vergelegen estate that was established by him in 1709. With all that history, one would expect the cobwebs to be visible all over the place, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Modern-day Lourensford is as modern as can be, very much at the forefront of winemaking in the Cape. Cellar master Hannes Nel has been here since 2002 and knows this terroir like the back of his hand. The estate is huge (4 000 hectares) and stretches from the Helderberg to the Hottentots Holland Mountains. This vast area makes it possible to have a multitude of terroirs that will bring out the best in all varietals with vinicultural elements of every French region right here, a great advantage. The range of wines is quite extensive, with user-friendly quaffers at great prices mingling with serious multi-award winners at prices that will not rip out your heart. They are all characterised by an abundance of fruit that has not been manipulated into a coma and which certainly reveals its origin in the best way – by taste and aroma. Hannes has worked closely for the last 16 years with vineyard manager Piet Uys and agrees, “The best thing in the vineyard is the footprints of the winemaker.” The poetic side of a winemaker’s nature is never far below the surface.