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Details for Mother Rock, Force Majeure, Rosé

CountrySouth Africa
Mother Rock Wines
(click to find out more)


The Swartland begins some 50 kilometres north of Cape Town and is bounded by the towns of Malmesbury in the south, Darling in the west, Piketberg in the north, and Riebeek West and Riebeek Kasteel in the east.  The Dutch pioneer Jan van Riebeek christened this gently undulating country “Het Zwarte Land” (the Black Land) after the appearance of the native Renosterbos (“Rhinoceros Bush”) when viewed from a distance after winter rains.
The area is noted for its fertile soil and relatively generous rainfall, making it the breadbasket for Cape Town.  Vines can be dry-farmed here, without the irrigation commonly practised elsewhere in South Africa, though in order to do so thay must be planted far apart.  Consequently trellising systems are rare and most vineyards are planted with small bush vines.
At the beginning of this century, enticed by those old bush vines, a few of South Africa’s most noted winemakers set up shop in a region that traditionally had only produced cheap jug wine.  The results were startling, and today Swartland is perhaps the country’s most fashionable wine region, with a particular focus on organic and “natural’ wine.  Red Rhône varieties do particularly well here, as does South Africa’s signature Chenin Blanc.

Mother Rock Wines

Mother Rock is a collaboration between noted South African winemaker Johan ‘Stompie’ Meyer and his UK importer Indigo Wines.  Johan is consultant winemaker for Mount Abora, and has his own project, JB Meyer Wines.  Using his contacts with growers in his native Swartland region, Johan sources old-vine grapes from organically-farmed vineyards and crafts them into export-friendly wines under the Mother Rock and Force Majeure labels.
These are nearly ‘natural’ wines.  Johan uses no SO2 during the winemaking, only adding a little at bottling time.  He doesn’t acidify his wines either, preferring to let them speak of the terroir in which the grapes were grown rather than the winemaking.  Hence “Mother Rock” - it’s all about the soil.
Force Majeure was the first range, initially an old-vine Chenin Blanc later joined by a rosé made from Cinsault and most recently a Syrah-based red blend.  The Mother Rock range is higher-priced, with a range of reds from unusual grapes, a Chenin Blanc called Liquid Skin made with long skin contact like a red, and a Chenin-based white blend also containing Viognier, Grenache Blanc, Semillon and even the (originally Hungarian) rarity Harslevelu.

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