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Intellego Wines

Jurgen Gouws is a winemaker on a mission to craft elegant wines from a hot place: the Swartland. His lower alcohol wines express distinct freshness — something that is not easy in a region frequently subject to drought. By farming organically with regenerative agriculture, he ensures that his soils & vines are healthy.

"I started to realise that wine is about identity; a wine has a fingerprint. A certain person made a certain wine, and that wine will travel the world, and somebody somewhere will be able to identify it."

People:  Jurgen Gouws

Place:  Swartland, South Africa

Varieties:  Chenin Blanc, Syrah, Cinsault, Mourvèdre, Viognier, Pinotage

Farming:  Organic with elements of biodynamics and permaculture. Some négoce, some farmed himself

Wines: Click here

Did You Know? Jurgen makes his own compost and works with many different cover crops in autumn and winter – lupines for nitrogen, but also lots of grasses – mustard, radish, cloves, black oats and white oats. The grasses serve as a “lid” to protect the topsoil.

He has experimented with skin contact white wines since the very beginning. Named Elementis, the skin contact Chenin was first made in 2011; the same year he began working at Lammershoek with Craig. He had tasted European skin contact wines, but there weren’t yet many made in South Africa. He decided it could be a cool thing to try out —little did he know that his skin contact white wines would quickly gain an international reputation. It began as a simple exploration of flavour:

“Chenin Blanc is such a versatile grape, but I wanted to figure out the potential of the flavours in the skin itself. The variety has a very wide flavour profile, it’s not like Sauvignon which has one or two dominant flavours. It was about appreciating that flavour profile and showcasing it, instead of making a statement with my wine style.”

He discovered that the best way to do this was by using gentle methods:

“If you work the grapes too much, the wine can be very tannic and overpowering, and just be a ‘skin contact’ wine. We’re very subtle during the fermentation, it’s a process of guiding the wines. There shouldn’t be too much clothing, this wine is just the naked fruit. Purity is very important for the skin contact wines. If you make natural wines too funky, all of a sudden your wines can taste similar. I don’t want people to think my two skin contacts are the same, there’s a clear difference between the wines.”

“It’s crazy the difference a site can make, and I was actually very surprised when I discovered this by working with different sites for the skin contact wines. In my mind...

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