Not just tasty but essential for life, there are 14 000 known uses for salt. Number 14 001 belongs to Groote Post Vineyards, where salt inspires new worlds of winemaking on the Cape West Coast.
You should take this with a grain of salt. Or so the saying goes.
After all, to launch their latest creation, Groote Post chose a celebrated ocean-view landmark, internationally acclaimed for its reimagination inspired by a single grain of corn! On Tuesday 24 October, Groote Post’s 2023 Pinch of Salt Chardonnay felt right at home at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA), making seasoned history.
Making wines distinct in story, terroir and taste is something Groote Post has long hung up and salted. Paying tribute to its cool-climate Darling origin, Groote Post stands out from the ordinary through run-away-from-the-mill labels. 2015 saw the launch of the Salt of the Earth blend of shiraz and cinsaut, as well as Seasalter, the Sauvignon Blanc that rejuvenated a salt(r)y West Coast wine way of life. Both brands have since been sitting above the salt at the table of premium wine lovers.
It took almost a decade, but the dry spell is over. Winemaker Lukas Wentzel, the salt of the Groote Post sea, explains that nine years ago, they started replanting their chardonnay vineyards, choosing superior clones and optimal locations for this grape variety. Wentzel says the Pentz family, owners of Groot Post, felt intrigued by the wisdom of their old chardonnay site, which posed a challenge not to be ignored: “How to embrace innovation yet honour tradition.”
Pinch yourself, standing on the highest hill on the farm. Feel the salty wind and the spilling Swartland sun. Feel the soil that has been home to Groote Post’s chardonnay vineyards for over three decades. It is here, in this south-facing dryland vineyard with a view of the ocean that a Pinch of Salt was born.
Fermenting the Pinch of Salt Chardonnay in three vessels creates a wine with layers of flavour and depth, just like a pinch of salt brings out the best in every dish. Wentzel’s recipe calls for three pinches: fifty percent stainless steel for a crisp character, thirty percent French oak for richness, and twenty percent ancient clay amphora for a unique blend. Often, what one thinks of as new is in fact a reimagined pinch from the past.
The result is a lightly wooded 2023 vintage showing fresh acidity, minerality and a zesty structure. Smell fresh stone fruit and vibrant citrus notes. Taste a steely minerality with crisp citrus and yellow stone fruit flavours and a long zesty acidity. No extra pinch of nothing is needed.