Haute Cabrière was built on a pioneering spirit and a passion for innovation. It is no surprise that second-generation Cellar Master, Takuan von Arnim, continues to expand upon this ethos that father and founder, Achim von Arnim, began.
The Haute Collection range, the creation of site-specific wines in a creative playground while experimenting with techniques, was launched in 2019. Takuan von Arnim alongside Winemaker Tim Hoek launched the range with three wines – Chardonnay, Amphora Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Each vintage stands alone and is not necessarily going to be repeated. Limited cult-status bottles are produced in exceptional vintages – the perfect additions for special and unique wine collections.
“The Haute Collection is a labour of love, and true to our philosophy that wine is an exploration of terroir, through the cellar, across the path of a Cellar Master, developing further under cork,” comments Takuan.
The Haute Collection impressed wine critics, achieving various awards for the 2017 maiden vintages. The current 2018 vintages all received 4.5 stars in the 2021 Platter Guide, indicating a second phenomenal display. The Chardonnay performed in the Prescient Minority Wine Report for white wines, headed up by well-respected wine journalist Christiaan Eedes. The Chardonnay joined the Pinot Noir, with a Tim Atkin Special Report rating of 94 points.
“We don’t create wine for awards, but the accolades from industry experts are testament to the work in the cellar and are a challenge to continue to strive for excellence,” says Tim.
Franschhoek and Semillon have a long-standing history. Some of the oldest bush vines in the valley date back to 1905. A collaboration project, the GD1 Project, was launched in 2019 to create local Semillon and showcased these old vines, the diversity of Semillon, the ability to age, traditional winemaking from the valley and the terroir of Franschhoek (home to many acclaimed wineries).
The GD1 Project, named after the Semillon clone most common in the valley, invited 10 wineries and their cellar teams to bring their own Semillon to the table. Each winery harvested on the same day and at the same time and thereafter, each created their own version of Semillon. The individual wines were then blended together as a unique wine that united Franschhoek. The wine is bottled as the GD1 Project Semillon 2019 and is available from La Cotte Inn based in Franschhoek.
Despite being a winery renowned for exploring Chardonnay and Pinot Noir varietals, the Semillon created for the GD1 Project inspired Takuan and Tim to add this wine to their own portfolio as a stand-out single wine. With Semillon rooted as deeply in the Franschhoek Valley as Haute Cabrière itself, this decision was easy for the maverick minds behind the Haute Collection.
Semillon and Chardonnay share similar natural flavours, while Semillon acidity drops quickly at a higher sugar level. Earlier picking and lower ballings preserve this balanced acidity. This is something on which Haute Cabrière prides itself.
The Semillon for the Haute Collection release was harvested from a block planted with GD1 in the early 1990s, and 480 bottles of the 2019 vintage have been released. In the cellar, the wine spent six months in amphorae, creating a uniquely textured mid-palate with incredible balanced acidity and minerality.