What makes great wine…

It is said amongst many that “Great wine is made in the vineyards and exceptional wines are made on the vine”. Like luck, terroir is both made and found. Nature supplies the raw materials and the constraints of topography, geology, and climate. But people elaborate, extend and interpret terroir and then perfect it in the cellar.

The Polkadraai Hills is blessed with both – great vineyard sites, located close to the ocean, on uniquely coarse granitic soils and adventurous winemakers willing to go above and beyond to truly express this terroir. This combination has led numerous wine critics and writers to refer to the Polkadraai Hills ward as the most exciting and dynamic ward in Stellenbosch. There is undoubtedly defining characteristics to all wines made in the Polkadraai Hills, with minerality and freshness seen as synonymic. The undulating terrain and vast array of aspects exposures found give an incredible diversity in terroir.  All of this makes it possible to create beautiful expressions of many different cultivars. The numerous award-winning wines from the area, produced by Saxenburg and its many neighbours, are the living testimony to the excellent terroir of the Polkadraai Hills.

Saxenburg’s spot on the Polkadraai Hills is both special and spectacular. The magnificent views of Table Mountain and False Bay are not only visually impressive but, more importantly, gives the property exposure to both False Bay and Table Bay. The cooling breezes of both these oceans ensuring the property is much cooler than the rest of Stellenbosch. Combine this with the predominantly coarsely decomposed granite soils, aspects ranging from north to south, and nearly 200m difference in elevation – it is understandable why this property has the potential to produce such incredible wines.

Granted synonymous with red wines, the place and precision from the Polkadraai Hills covers almost all the bases and delivers consistency, diversity and value when it comes to white wine too. Leading international varieties such as Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are easily had, coming in a range from sleek and minerally to full-bodied and opulent. And then there’s Chenin Blanc, which offers an added range for more adventurous wine lovers.

They are wines that generate, to borrow from Wordsworth’s famous phrase, the sensation, “my heart leaps up when I behold.”

The variable and valuable terroir of our vineyard –

No two sites on the Polkadraai Hills are alike. From aspects and slope to exposure and soils, the terroir widely varies… As custodians of this land, we embrace the sense of place and capture it in our white wines.

The Guinea Fowl Chenin blanc always has a lovely fruit sweetness to it. This, combined with the minerality we get in our white wines, makes for a wine of beautiful balance.

Our Sauvignon Blanc plantings are mainly higher up the slopes with a cooler South-West facing aspect. Here, the vines benefit fully from the cool ocean breezes and produce expressive wines with elegant minerality.

We only have one small Semillon vineyard, and it is planted on one of the highest slopes on the farm. Because of the elevation, the production is naturally low. Still, the resulting wine is all the more impressive.

Saxenburg’s Chardonnay vineyards are planted on both granite and sandstone as blending the two, in our experience, produces wines with greater complexity and richness.

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The Saxenburg Wine Club Case includes three exclusive white wine releases: 

The Winemaker’s Blend 2010
Limited Edition Sav-Sem Blend 2020
Private Collection Chardonnay 2019

+ 12% discount on wines and exclusive access to limited edition wines & our Bührer Library Collection and more…

For more information:

Your 2021 Vintage – #Harvest2021 Report

“Eight weeks after we picked our first grapes for 2021, we finished our last grapes last week. This truly has been the most interesting, unconventional and “throw the rule book out of the window” type of season I have ever experienced. In general, we were about 2 and half weeks late on most of our blocks, but as with everything this season, there were some exceptions, for instance, our Malbec that came in 3 days earlier than last year! I think every grower and winemaker will have a completely different experience of this season, as there were pronounced differences between how each of the blocks on Saxenburg reacted to the season. This certainly necessitated a lot of time spent in the vineyards walking and tasting each block multiple times a week to get picking decisions right – sometimes a block that I thought was close, took another 2 weeks to ripen and other times it got there in 2 days! This all being said and with it being early days, I am very encouraged and excited by the quality I am seeing in the cellar. I think time spent in the vineyards will certainly pay off and we are seeing beautiful purity in the wines, high natural acidities and great fruit expression. We look forward to sharing the fruits of the labour with you in the future.” – Dirk van Zyl, Cellarmaster & Winemaker
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