As I slowly pulled four bottles of Journey’s End Vineyards wine from their respective carriers, my heart skipped four slow beats. I instantly knew I was about to embark on not only a journey of the senses, but also on a great story-telling adventure.
Journey’s End Vineyards (situated on the mountain slopes above Sir Lowry’s Pass Village near Somerset West), one of South Africa’s most sustainable and experimental wineries, is revamping its range of wines to give clear differentiation between its three series – Tales, V and Precision – while maintaining a consistent theme across the family of wines.
The family’s philosophy is one of minimum intervention, aiming to create top-quality, single-vineyard and appellation wines that intricately integrate the tension between remaining true to the terroir, and finding their own unique expression of it.
The new look Tales Series will be the first wines to be released. The new labels on these four wines are designed to tell the story behind each wine.
The Tales Series will be followed by the new-look V Series and Precision Series later in the year (press release).
I’m always elated to find bottles of my favourite wineries cross my desk, but what fills me with even more glee, is when four bottles of an unknown (to me) vineyard cross my desk. I was recently sent the full Tales Series range from Journey’s End Vineyards, consisting of a Sauvignon Blanc, a Chardonnay and two red blends, which I’ll touch on later.
At first glance, the bottles look beautifully sleek and elegant in dark glass, with cheeky monochrome labels and bold fonts and illustrations. The names of the wines are mysteriously intriguing and begs to each tell its story, which was the inspiration behind the range. A strong identity and solid, clever branding can tell a brand’s story without saying a single word.
But before I become all lyrical over the branding and bottles, here’s a run-down of each of the wines with my scrumptious food pairing suggestions.
The Tales Series
Weather Station Sauvignon Blanc
Named after the ‘Weerstasie Kloon’ (Weather Station clone) in Stellenbosch where the SB11 Sauvignon Blanc clone was first propagated in the 1920’s.
The Little Hedonist‘s food pairing suggestion: because of this young Sauvie’s slightly green notes, I would want to pair it with an Asian feast, with elements of lime, ginger, chilli and fresh green herbs like coriander. The sweet tropical fruit undertones would interact beautifully with the spices in Asian food. Would also go well with a creamy avocado pasta, freshly ground black pepper and handfuls of fresh rocket or parsley.
Named after the age-old practice of planting wheat between the rows of vines, which encourages all the aphids and flies to land on the crop instead of the vines. This wine pays homage to the environment.
The Little Hedonist‘s food pairing suggestion: my favourite pairing for a bright, citrussy Chardonnay is either a simple roast chicken meal, or any type of pork dish. Crumbed pork chops, pork chow mein or even a lovely piece of roast pork belly – the crisp zestiness is great for richer dishes. Also great with a silky pasta or risotto.
The Huntsman – Shiraz, Mourvèdre, Viognier
Named after the original kennels the Gabb family found on their farm dating back to 1822, and where the Journey’s End winery now stands.
The Little Hedonist‘s food pairing suggestion: this beautiful blend is always on the hunt for something big, something rich and something meaty. Classic grilled lamb chops or a juicy steak, it begs for a bold meal to complement with it’s smooth, full-bodiedness. Mexican food is also a great partner, especially with mince, cheese and protein-packed beans.
Pastor’s Blend – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc
Pays homage to the Reverend from the local village of Sir Lowry’s Pass who regularly delivers Sunday communion at the foot of the Journey’s End vineyard.
The Little Hedonist‘s food pairing suggestion: this Bordeaux-style red blend also needs an indulgently rich companion; my immediate thought was a bacon and blue cheese burger, with a beautiful 100% pure beef patty. For a vegetarian option, I would suggest earthy mushrooms in a risotto or grilled garlic butter portobello’s with oodles of mature cheese roasted over the coals.
All in all, the Tales Series is a very impressive range of lifestyle wines. Each bottle carries the seal from the Gabb family’s unique interpretation of the cultivars, without losing those classic characteristics of each wine. The Tales Series is loaded with value and good, honest wine to be enjoyed by newcomers and wine-flies alike. The branding is fresh, elegant and guarantees to be conversation starters around any table.
But more than just the Tales Series, there are so many more tales to be told of Journey’s End Vineyards, that I couldn’t possibly all capture it in one blog. So, my best of advice would be to rally together your best wine companions, book a tasting, make a day-trip out to Journey’s End Vineyards and let the Gabb family tell you the story of their farm, their ethos and their exquisite wines.
The fine print
Monday Friday : 10h00 – 17h00
Tastings available only for groups of 6 or more.
For further info and bookings contact Mike Dawson on email@example.com
Sir Lowry’s Pass Road
Somerset West 7130
Second photographer: The Tall Hedonist, aka. Timothy P. Gibson
Disclaimer: I was given this product(s) as part of a press drop in exchange for my honest and truthful opinion and review thereof. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are solely those of The Little Hedonist, given in good faith and in no way influenced by the company or its affiliates. All images, unless otherwise stated/credited, are also my own.