Intellego Story of Harry White

Regular price $25.00

Winemaker: Jurgen Gouws

Appellation: Swartland, South Africa

Grape Variety: Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay

This is the third iteration of ‘The Story of Harry.’ Harry is a real person who is part of the vineyard crew and is just as much a part of the ‘terroir’ of the wine as the vineyard. Without these vineyard workers, high quality wine would not be possible. Moreover without the work that the winemakers have available, many of these communities would remain desolate. Jurgen illustrates the collaborative team effort through the imagery on the label that is his artistic interpretation of the long drives in the Swartland going from town to township to city to farm. The colorful homes and clothing dot the landscape and form the symbiotic community of the Swartland. The fruit all comes off of a single site northeast of the Paardeberg with the Chardonnay at the bottom of the vineyard at lower altitudes and the Chenin further up the slope facing due East. The Chenin was planted in 2002 and the Chardonnay in 1998 and both are bush vine plantings and have been dry-farmed since their inception. Jurgen would never consider making a varietal Chardonnay from the Swartland at the lower-lying altitudes, but the richness blended with the linear Chenin is a truly great harmony of varieties.

The fruit was hand-harvested in the cool, dark morning of early February. The Chenin Blanc component was entirely destemmed and fermented on the skins for one week in open-top plastic fermenters without any additions. Following a week on skins the lot was pressed directly to old 25hL and 30hL foudres for aging. The Chardonnay was whole-bunch pressed directly to old oak barrels for a reductive natural fermentation on its gross lees. Aging occurred for 10 months in old oak barrels (Chardonnay) and French foudres (Chenin Blanc).  Both components were racked once to tank to harmonize and settle naturally prior to being bottled without fining and just a coarse filtration and small addition of sulfur.

Intellego Wines started off in 2009 with funds from winemaker/founder, Jurgen Gouws’ Russian harvest trip supplemented by the sale of secondhand barrels. Intellego translates to “understand” in Latin and is aptly named, as Jurgen is just beginning to understand the extent of the potential of this incredible region. Gouws is one of Swartland’s young guns, a laidback guy with a surfer’s tan and a wry smile. He does not currently own a vineyard or cellar of his own, but has developed his own brand Intellego while working at Lammershoek with Craig “El Bandito” Hawkins. His wall of old barrels in the rented space at Annexkloof bears the names of favorite musicians, DJs, and other things he loves.

Jurgen notes that “Craig was one of the first to start making fresher wines, from around 2010” and Jurgen has a range of techniques up his sleeve to achieve these styles. His preference is for bush vine Chenin (“there’s no competition with trellised vines – the fruit intensity is really exciting”), and a strict adherence to organic farming without irrigation. Whole bunch fermentation is key to preserving freshness during vinification, especially for red grapes.

Intellego doesn’t exist in a vacuum – Jurgen is part of a new wave of Cape winemakers all moving in a similar direction. Common themes are organic or biodynamic farming, minimal intervention in the cellar, and the desire to make pure, thirst-quenching wines.  The grapes are sourced from different sites and he works closely with the farmers ensuring the fruit is expressive of this region. Jurgen has a particular affinity for some of the older Chenin Blanc bush vines in South Africa and is not afraid to push the boundaries of texture.

“As humans we strive towards an ideal life in order to fulfill our destiny and our everyday life is part of this exciting process. We are very fortunate to be part of this cycle through our work in vineyards and its continuity in the cellar. The final product in bottle is a true celebration of what happens in the vineyard.” – Jurgen Gouws