What I Drank Last Night
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Brenaissance Knight of White Chardonnay 2010

It's not the cards you're dealt...

Tom Breytenbach’s background is property development while his wife Hayley’s is financial services. Intent on a lifestyle change, they purchased property in Stellenbosch’s Devon Valley ward in 2009 and opened Brenaissance Wine and Stud Estate to the public at the end of last year

The Breytenbachs seem to bring plenty of business nous to bear. “Why do so many farmers not succeed? Because they don’t sufficiently diversify their businesses,” says Breytenbach. In addition to some 30ha of vineyard on the 116ha property, the couple also farm plums for export and have started to breed Boran cattle. There’s also a 200-person chapel, a 250-person function centre, accommodation for 18 people and Café Blanc de Noir serving pizza with your choice of either wine or Stellenbrau beer.

Is this new operation going to succeed? “One Boran cow produces 80 eggs over 12 months, an egg selling for between R10 000 and R15 000. She takes up 0.5ha of land and generates a total of R1 million annually. I’d need 40ha of vineyard to make the same amount of money.”

As for wine, Breytenbach is not about to over-capitalise, saying “I’ll never having a cellar”. There are seven wines in the range, various different winemakers used depending on particular strengths. Longridge’s Jasper Raats mades the Lady H Sauvignon Blanc 2011 and Knight of White Chardonnay 2010, Charl Coetzee when at Clos Malverne the Jack of Diamonds Shiraz 2009, Billy Marklew of Marklew Family Wines the Queen of Hearts Merlot, Marklew and Eikendal’s Nico Grobler were involved in the Bordeaux-style red blend Full House 2010 and Grobler responsible for the King of Clubs Cabernet Sauvignon 2009.

Stand out wines for me are:

Knight of White Chardonnay: 16/20
Price: R128
10 months in French oak, 10% new. Citrus and attractive vanilla on the nose. Good fruit concentration plus some leesy complexity and a hint of oak spice. Creamy texture nicely offset by bright acidity.

King of Clubs Cabernet Sauvignon 2009: 16.5/20
Price: R228
18 months in French oak, 33% new. Cassis on the nose and palate. Full but balanced, fresh acidity good tannic grip. Classically styled with a long, dry finish.

Comments

  1. Glad to see that there are at least two people who have heard of Hermit on the Hill The White Knight.  Yep, the first vintage was 2009 (a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscat Blanc).  My jousting skills are sadly lacking, so I don’t think that I’ll be challenging Mr Breytenbach to a duel.  

  2. Kwispedoor says:

    I’m not sure which came first: the cow or the egg, but I know for a fact that The White Knight came before the Knight of White.

  3. I agree with Harry, awful name. And lets wait until Mr.Breytenbach has survived a few agricultural business cycles to judge whether he is the panacea of the wine business that he claims.

    Its enlightening to read about the Australian vineyards now for sale after being bought by “masters of the universe” as lifestyle retreats in the ’90′s who have now seen their gat.

  4. It is early, and I have scrambled eggs on the mind, so I got confused as to what type of eggs these cows were producing. I thought their scrambled eggs would be bloody expensive. 

    Two comments myself. 

    One, the name Brenaissance is appalling. It is more suited to a suburban cafe for 4×4 diving moms.  

    Two, have they heard of THE White Knight? 

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