The Smiley wines came about by chance when blending together Chenin blanc “off-cuts” of the 2011 and 2012 vintage, thus making a non-vintage wine. The idea was taken an expanded by experimenting with different fermentation and aging techniques such as, with the Chenin blanc, including skin-contact, under-flor yeast maturation, intentionally oxidizing and “maderizing” barrels by leaving them in the sun plus blending in fresh juice from the current vintage before bottling. The Smiley Red likewise is a non-vintage but multi-variety blend of Mediterrean climate grapes grown in the Swartland area of South Africa. Smiley is intended to be a cutting edge, quirky, naturally made un-fined wine with no addition of yeasts, enzymes or acid. The name and label itself is tongue-in-cheek given that in South Africa a “smiley” is a sheep’s head, the offcut of the animal yet a delicacy to eat.
The two Silwervis wines, unlike the Smiley which represents multiple styles and vintages, are both single vineyard, vintage wines. The two vineyards are located on the Paardeberg mountain in the heart of the Swartland. The 46 year old Chenin blanc bush-vine vineyard is located at the bottom of a decomposed granite valley which we farm organically and compeltely by hand. The Cinsault vineyard is located on a unique terroir ridge where decomposed granite and red-clay meet. The grapes for both of the wines are fermented naturally before being transferred to their respective Nomblot concrete eggs for one year of untouched maturation. The Silwervis wines are hands-off wines where we want the taster to experience a sense of place and terroir, that being the Paardeberg which is featured as the back drop on the label of the wine. The label is a union of past and present. The past represented by the devil, where people farmed agressively and without care, the present represeted by the mermaid which highlights the delicate nature of our approach of natural winemaking.
We also make two wines under the label Terrcura, a Syrah from 5 different vineyards of the Swartland and a Chenin blanc from old, Paardeberg bush vines. Check out more: http://www.terracura.co.za
Ryan Mostert, Winemaker, partner and “handler of grapes”
Samantha, Managing Director