The Fledge & Co Hoeksteen
Tim Atkin 92 Points
Neal Martin 91 Points
Platter 4.5 Stars
The Fledge & Co is the fabulous winemaking venture from Margaux Nel (younger daughter of Carel Nel and winemaker at the family winery, Boplaas) and her husband Leon Coetzee. They handcraft tiny quantities of different wines from specific vineyard sites all over the Cape winelands. Often using exciting "experimental" techniques like extended skin contact, whole bunch pressing etc. They travel 20,000km to hand harvest the grapes from 35 different vineyards.
Leon states "A single vineyard, dry land farmed bush vines, barrel fermented & matured Chenin from the Bottelary planted in 1983 & which they only crafted 200 cases of. The Hoeksteen is a wine which benefits greatly from further bottle maturation & is (unintentionally) very "Loire"-like."
For me personally it was a little too French! I like my whites with a bit more power. This reminded me a lot of white Burgundy which many would say was a compliment. I would say if you like your Northern French whites this would be up your street but if you like a fuller heavier white then opt for the Fledge Vagabond instead.
Leon tells me:
Philosophy – To express the unique old bush vines, the climats & vintage while crafting a Steen which can improve with time in bottle – to this end we as far as possible we utilize gnarled old Steen vines, undergo extended cold ferments, ferment in old French oak, mature sur lie (on the lees), bottle unfined & unfiltered.
Vineyard – A dry land bush vine site rooted in the decomposed granitic soils of the Bottelary Hills with epic vistas of Table Mountain planted in the early ‘80s. Hand harvested at dawn in mid-February & the only Stellenbosch Steen of the season. Quite possibly the most tempestuous vintage in the Cape – super low winter rainfall, early spring, hot summer, heat waves & erratic weather – resulted in small clusters of fruit, great concentration & very lithe wines.
Vinification – All our False Bay fruit was lost in its entirety to a heat wave, thus this vintage is solely from Bottelary’s gnarled bush vines – harvested for freshness, acidity, structure & fruit. Crushed directly into our small pneumatic press & allowed a few hours skin contact prior to gentle pressing, thereafter the juice was settled overnight prior to racking with a fair share of fine lees, inoculated & allowed a 3 week cold ferment in old 400L French oak barrels. Post-fermentation the wine was racked into 5 old French oak puncheons with a fair portion of fine lees & allowed about eight months of maturation prior to bottling unfined & unfiltered, under screw cap to preserve the essence of the site, vintage & vines. Only yeast & small amounts of sulphur are added during vinification.
Wine – A svelte ‘n shy Steen, exhibits a combination of citrus blossom, yellow fruits, green apple, red pear, toasted almond, subtle ginger, honey ‘n rooibos & tell-tale chalky finish with bright acidity to whet the palate. A perfect partner for roast fowl, fresh crustaceans & other denizens of the deep, firm fromage or enjoy as an aperitif. Serve chilled & best decanted. Cellaring is advised to enjoy the wine at its optimum."
|Location||Stellenbosch bush vines|
|Winery||Fledge & Co|
|Winery status||Just Leon & Margaux!|
|Winemaker||Leon & Margaux|
|Annual production||1190 bottles|
|Grapes||Steen (Chenin Blanc)|
|Product awards||Tim Atkin 92 Points, Neal Martin 91 Points, Platter 4.5 Stars|