The Banghoek Valley
The Home of Delaire Graff Estate
Outside the quaint town of Stellenbosch, winding up the mountainous pass to its neighbouring Franschhoek, one will stumble upon a place of unparalleled and pristine beauty; the Banghoek Valley.
Derived from ‘De Bange Hoek’ meaning ‘Scary Corner’ its moniker pays tribute to the spirit of the early pioneers who braved the heights of the mountainous pass to face what lay beyond: a Valley inhabited with resident elephants, buffalo, lions and leopards. The audacious spirit of our fore-bearers gave seed to a region rich in viniculture producing the most superior Cabernet and Chardonnay in the country.
But what is it which defines the fingerprint of the region in the oenological context? Characterised by an inherently diverse terroir, the Banghoek Valley offers a perfect storm. Undulating hills and craggy mountain sides, cool maritime influences and diverse soil composition provide the mark of the region’s unique terroir. Viticulturist, Kallie Fernhout says of the region’s micro-climate,
‘I think what makes the Banghoek Valley special, is the combination of factors. Specifically, terroir speaking, the diversity found here, from decomposing granite to rich red clay soil, accompanied by the elevation and cooler climate creates a unique and special wine region.’
Elevation remains paramount to the recipe promoting cooler temperatures and thus, longer, steadier ripening times. For the region’s most prolific varietals – Cabernet and Chardonnay – this means a respective golden thread which runs through the wines of the area.
A penchant for cool climate conditions, Chardonnay thrives in the mountain side vineyards of the Banghoek where maritime influences produce Chardonnay characterised by vibrant acidity and subtle stone fruit. The region’s rich red soil and decomposed granite offer a complex minerality, the ultimate expression of the region’s terroir.
For Cabernet, it is the intriguing earthiness and elegant tannic structure which are the hallmark of the Banghoek’s rich soil. Planted on the lower slopes of the valley, the rich red soils run deep heeding smaller berry size with more intensity of flavour. Add to this subtle nuances of mint, remnants of the indigenous fynbos which blanket the mountain side, and one can distinctively identify the fingerprint of the region.
Whether Chardonnay or Cabernet, the Banghoek Valley delivers a particular expression of terroir dictated by its superlative environment. One of the youngest wards in Stellenbosch, there is an intriguing winemaking renaissance in the Valley driven by an unwavering pursuit of excellence. With a significant number of the top Cabernets and Chardonnays hailing from the ward, the Banghoek Valley is a region to watch.
A few of our favourites
Delaire Graff Estate Terraced Block Reserve:
As complex and diverse as the site from which it originates, the Delaire Graff Terraced Block Reserve Chardonnay is the ultimate expression of terroir. Contoured and sloped as an amphitheatre, the vineyard captures the vast flavour spectrum from varying exposure to the vibrant African sun. An expressive bouquet of smoky floral notes lies within the alluring subtlety of peach and citrus. A spicy minerality remains a refined reminiscence of the sites rich soil, while a crisp acidity contrasts with vivacity.
Single vineyard Estate wine.
Delaire Graff Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve:
Complex yet refined, the Delaire Graff Cabernet Sauvignon is a sophisticated expression of a classic claret. A potpourri of dark fruit and spice is abundant on delivery while an intriguing earthiness remains the fingerprint of the rich soil in which the grapes are grown. Aged in French oak barrels, the timeless subtlety of its velvety tannins offers a luxurious elegance.
Single vineyard Estate wine.