Since 2016 we have transitioned to farming our vineyards “sustainably”. For us, this means trying to farm with nature and not against it. We no longer use herbicides, pesticides, or any synthetic fertilizers in our vineyards. Pests have natural predators…and we’re encouraging them to help us out! We sow a diverse cover crop after each harvest and supplement this with farm-made compost to increase microbial activity in the soil, and to attract those natural predators we mentioned. This also improves water retention for those drier times that can stress the vineyards out (not to mention the people!).
It all really boils down to soil health, which translates into the quality of the grapes we produce. We believe that producing quality wines starts with producing quality grapes. We are proud to have produced them for you!
Pearl Mountain Wines
Our “Pearl Mountain” range has gone through many changes over the years, and will continue to evolve. These wines are more traditional in style – always sound, always tasty – but we also like our wines to display their origin and the more natural characters associated with the grapes we use. In keeping with our “minimal intervention” approach in the cellar, we’ve moved away from using excessive new wood. Generally, we favour a balance between new wood and neutral vessels (or even no new wood).
Wagon Trail Shiraz 2017
In the days of ox wagons, the road from the Cape into the hinterlands to the North used to pass through the bottom of the farm. This road still exists, although it has been a while since it has seen an ox wagon, and it is along this road that our Shiraz is planted.
Three Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
Dotted along the ancient wagon trail, which passed through the lower part of the farm, were oak trees, planted to create shady avenues that offered some respite from the harsh summer sun. Although one was recently lost to a storm, two of these ancient oaks remain… alongside which our Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard is planted.
The smooth tannins and luxurious silky structure of this wine will be something to savour!
Above the Mist 2017
As the name suggests, our Merlot vineyards are planted high on the slopes of Paarl Mountain, near the top of the farm. When seasonal mists roll into the Berg River valley from the West Coast over the Swartland, these vineyards stick out above the mist.
Avis Chardonnay 2018
Our Avis Chardonnay is named for our paternal grandmother, who loved gardening and who laid the foundations of the gardens we still enjoy today. As her gardens grew well while she was around to maintain them, so Chardonnay does now. The result is a fresh, zesty wine with hints of citrus a mildly wooded character. Baie lekker.
Witkaree Chenin Blanc 2018
This wine gets its name from a majestic, large, haphazard-trunked Witkaree (Searsia pendulina) tree which chose its own spot to grow overlooking the Chenin Blanc vineyard.
Soetwater Special Late Harvest 2018
This dessert wine is made from Chenin Blanc grapes that are left on the vine to naturally dehydrate under the African sun. This leads to a much higher concentration of flavours, and obviously sugar too! Clear, light yellow and cheerful. Rich, toasty citrus with some honey notes and a lingering soft oak finish.
For the Birds
The newest of our offerings is our PM –“For the Birds” range. Although this is our first vintage, this is a project that we’ve been working on for several years. We want to work with nature, and not against it while getting these wines into a bottle. We encourage animal life in our vineyards and on the farm in general. Our pest control happens through an assortment of natural predators, of which the guinea fowl is the top of the pyramid!
While we try to make all of our wines with a “minimal intervention” approach, this range is made with “no intervention”, other than the potential addition of a minimal amount of sulphur before bottling. It is comprised of wines made with organically farmed grapes (as are most of our grapes these days). We want the wines to reflect the character of the vineyard site they come from. They are matured in neutral vessels to avoid overpowering the natural character of the grape variety used in the making of the wine. The point at which the grapes are picked means so much more when one can’t allow for chemical adjustments in the cellar later on.
These are fresher, zesty, lighter style wines.
Flight of the Drongo Grenache Noir 2019
This is our first natural wine. “Natural” means different things to different people. To us, it means using only organically farmed grapes and sometimes a minimal amount of sulphur before bottling. That’s it. The result is a deliciously tasty, lighter-style, natural red wine that shows the natural fruit flavours. Just grapes. This is a wine for any occasion. Let it breathe for 10mins after opening if you can wait that long.
Our “Stubborn Man” range is a collection of easy drinking, home-style wines. Our family name, Retief, means stubborn in French, and this is especially apt. We’ve been custodians of Pearl Mountain since 1873 and it is thanks to a streak of “stubbornness” that we are still here…battling the elements and everything in between for almost 150 years! These wines are made simply and well. They are juicy and fun…and delicious.
Chenin Blanc 2019
Hand-picked grapes were harvested a shade earlier to retain some zippy acidity and freshness. Grapes are destemmed, lightly crushed and left on the skins for an hour before being pressed to stainless steel tank and settled for 2 days. Following this, they are fermented dry at about 14 degrees Celsius and left on the lees for 2 months prior to bottling. Hints of apple and lime. Zippy acidity and lighter with an alcohol of 12%.
A three-way blend made up of roughly equal parts of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from juice drawn off during the crushing of the red wines. The wines are fermented separately before being blended together and matured for a short period in stainless steel tank. The result is a dry, salmon pink wine perfect for any occasion, but is especially popular when served chilled on warmer days.
Red Blend Select 2019
Hand-picked grapes at optimal ripeness create this juicy, drink-anytime, three-part blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Merlot. A crowd pleasing dry red wine with a hint of wood and delicate, smooth tannins.