Just off the R44 outside of Stellenbosch lies Kunjani Wine Farm, a hidden gem on the Stellenbosch Wine Route. They launched their new wine label this week, and I had the privilege of attending the launch and trying out some of the wines in their range.
First things first, what’s the story behind Kunjani Wines?
Kunjani Wines is a cross-continental merger between South African and European tastes and styles. The husband and wife team of South African born Pia Watermeyer and German Paul Barth, have created a unique space where Africa and Europe meet to create something exciting.
Their cross-continental influences can be seen in the design of their tasting room, as well as in their newly launched labels. Pia brings the African flair, while Paul is responsible for the contemporary European influences, which work together to create an Afro-Contempo style unique to Kunjani.
So, what’s the deal with the new label?
The previous Kunjani labels featured two hands representing a meeting between friends; kunjani means “Hi, how are you?” in Xhosa after all. But the new label suits their style better — and it matches the tasting room as well! With the contemporary new label, the bottle reflects the unique wine inside, while keeping the spirit of Kunjani alive. All their wines have been rebranded with the new label, except for the Stolen Chicken Rosé, which kept its unique label in honour of their son who unfortunately passed away in 2016.
Most importantly, what’s the wine like?
I also had the opportunity to sample a few of their wines, and I was not disappointed! I started off with their white wines, namely their 2018 Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc. The Sauvignon Blanc evokes feelings of summer, with strong granadilla and tart summer fruits on the palate. The Chenin Blanc, my favourite of the whites, is smooth and fresh, with a lovely full body that cuts through the acidity. As I moved on to the Rosé with its unique label, I was greeted with a ripe raspberry flavour and a beautiful rose gold colour. I can definitely see myself sipping this next to the pool next summer!
It is winter, however, so of course, I had to taste their reds! My absolute favourite of all the wines I sampled was the 2015 Kunjani Shiraz, which has a full-bodied spicy and peppery flavour. This wine would be the perfect accompaniment to a hearty oxtail stew or pepper fillet, which I’ll definitely take advantage of during winter! The Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, both 2018 varietals, are both easy drinking and can definitely be featured on your wine rack to open on those cold winter evenings. I especially enjoyed the Cab Sauv, with its dark chocolate flavours, and a hint of vanilla sweetness at the end.
Carmen Stevens, the first winemaker of colour in South Africa, and winemaker at Kunjani Wines, definitely knows what she’s doing! It’s no surprise then to learn that she’s won multiple awards as winemaker of the year and even took home the title of Winemaker of the Decade last year!
My afternoon at Kunjani Wines was the perfect midweek break, and I’ll definitely be back to pick up some more wine to take home, and to sample more of Chef Lamek Mnisi’s menu, as Eskom unfortunately threw a spanner in the works during the launch.
Their newly packaged wine label (wine included) is available at retailers and the cellar door. Check out their brand new website for more information on the wines, the restaurant and more!