A global sensation chiefly found in Burgundy, France, the Pinot Noir grape varietal now grows on every continent, in all types of soils, as new vines or ancient vineyards, from inland to coastal regions.
Known as the ‘heartbreak grape’ due to its temperamentality, this grape rewards those whom dedicate their hard work and heart to it with its virtually limitless shades of elegant wine creations. At Haute Cabrière, our passion for Pinot Noir predates our existence. Founder, Achim von Arnim, fell in love with Pinot Noir during his time in the Champagne and Burgundy regions of France as a young man. Not only a challenge to grow, but to craft, he knew Pinot Noir was a grape that would reward hard work, dedication, creativity, a careful hand and passion. And so, Pinot Noir took up its place in Achim’s heart alongside the other prominent varietal in the region, Chardonnay. Unknown to him then, these two varietals would become the cornerstones of the winery he was to establish.
Throughout his career in South Africa, Achim explored the versatility of Pinot Noir within the South African context. He was the first cellar master to blend Pinot Noir and Chardonnay for Cap Classique in the country, and his pioneering viniculture would come to define his successful career. One day, upon walking in the foothills of the Franschhoek Pass, Achim noticed the soil clinging to his boots. The site of it took him back many years to Burgundy where the clay-rich soil would do the same.
Something inside of him danced to life, and he had the soil composition analysed. What he came to learn was that these soils provided an ideal makeup for Burgundian varietals and so the seed was planted to found his own winery and grow his two favourite varietals here in Franschhoek. It was a long journey, achieved with the love and support of his wife, Hildegard, as they found a way to purchase the land and pursue their dreams.
After a rough year (and a bit), it’s time bring back some ceremony and learn some new tricks to add back some richness to life. You can now join us to learn the dramatic art of slicing off the top of a bottle of Cap Classique with large sabre … something our founder, Achim von Arnim, is famed for. This art of sabrage dates back to the time of Napoleon and, to this day, is a sight to behold. It’s sure to up the ante to you next dinner party, wedding or social gathering (restrictions permitting, of course…).
Inspired by the Burgundian expert, Carole Beaujeu, Haute Cabrière crafted its first Pinot Noir and Chardonnay Cap Classique in 1984; the Pierre Jourdan Brut. A vintage that earned Haute Cabrière its first 5-star accolade from the Platter Wine Bible of the Cape. Soon thereafter, a 100% Pinot Noir followed … the Pierre Jourdan Belle Rose. And so the journey began for Haute Cabrière, founded on the exploration of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the pursuit of exceptional wines through pioneering blends and elegant 100% expressions of fruit. Our portfolio continued to grow with the introduction of the Haute Cabrière wine range which showcases the versatility of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in a still wine collection, inclusive of unwooded 100% varietals, through to pioneering blends of Chardonnay and Pinot as well as Pinot Noir and Syrah (Arnim Family Réserve), all the way to elegant wooded iterations of these varietals. Hildegard von Arnim, the matriarch of Haute Cabrière, compares our Pinot Noir Réserve to “a ballet dancer, dancing so elegantly and effortlessly, a performance that is, however, based on well-trained muscles and strength, the secret foundation of the illusion of effortless grace”.
This passion for Pinot Noir was instilled in his children, with his eldest son Takuan von Arnim becoming the second-generation of cellar masters at the family-run estate of Haute Cabrière. Takuan would come to introduce a third range, the Haute Collection, as a second-generation legacy which continued the exploration of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir through new techniques such as the application of amphorae, and the identification of exceptional sites for limited release vintages.
Reimagining Pinot Noir in the modern world, with classic techniques, passion and dedication is the hallmark of Haute Cabrière wines. This ancient varietal has unknown origins, and may be as little as one or two generations removed from wild vines (which accounts for its unpredictability). During harvest, the Cellar Master must be aware of the strong tannins in the skins of the Pinot Noir grape ensuring they do not dominate the taste, but provide the essential support needed for the fruity and spicy flavours of the juice within. Each and every aspect needs to be carefully taken into account … the right time to pick which depends on the ripeness of the grapes, the length of fermentation and skin contact to extract the lovely ruby-red colour from the skins and yet not too much tannin, the choice of barrels crafted from oak trees originating in specific forests and length of time to mature … all aspects contribute to the final exciting taste spectrum.
What's your shade of Pinot Noir?
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