This week’s pick of the bunch is Eagles Nest.
Our latest Winemaker is Stuart Botha from Eagles’ Nest. He’s a local Capetonian and attended Wynberg Boys High School. We were lucky enough to do our interview while on a 4X4 Experience at the top of Eagles’ Nest.
The experience was incredibly special as Stuart gave some more insight into what makes Eagles’ Nest and Constantia so special. We asked Stuart what he enjoyed doing on the farm and he told us that in his spare time, he rides up on his Quad bike to take in the view and enjoy a morning cup of coffee. He described how there is often a low-lying cloud that sits over the Nest. “The cloud almost mutes the sound of the city”. Sometimes the only thing you can actually see is some planes above the clouds going in to land.
One of the most interesting things we learnt from Eagles’ Nest was that the farm’s geography is unreal!
Eagles’ Nest is situated beautifully on a coastal plane that is right next to an escarpment. It remains one of the steepest gradient vineyards in the Cape. This is why we enjoy taking our guests on the 4X4 experience to the top of the vineyard, as the view from up there truly is remarkable. We get excited doing this part of the tour every time.
What differentiates Eagles’ Nest from a lot of the other wine farms is that it follows the contour lines that already exist in the valley. The vines are facing all different parts of the compass (See Pic Below). Some vineyards get more sun and some less. It gives you a whole lot of differences in the same block, which is what makes it so special. Because of the positioning, there is also a nice ocean breeze coming onto the block.
A lesson in Soil Science:
So here’s what’s up with the soil at Constantia. The whole of Constantia is mostly decomposed granite. 450000 years old. Some of the oldest soils in the world that wines are planted in. The soil is weathered down from solid granite boulders. The farm is made up of lightly orange soil which is quite clay rich. Clay gives you massive water holding potential. For this reason, it is great for growing grapes! The orange tinge in the soil tells you it’s got some iron in it. The iron gives it quite a nice savory component.
Flora in the Nest
The Flora on Eagles’ Nest is incredible. Eagles’ Nest has put a lot of work into re-establishing our countries national flower, the Protea’s and the likes of it in between the vineyards. A Silver Tree forest has been planted above the vineyards. The Silver Tree (Dutch – Witterboomen) is the only tree in the Protea Family and they need fire to germinate, this makes you realize that it’s quite a risk farming in these areas but the passion and will to farm wine in Constantia is so strong it makes it so worth it. Without the fires, germination and grown won’t happen.
What is Eagles’ Nest Specialty Wine?
The most popular and specialty wine from Eagles’ Nest is the Shiraz. This is what people have latched onto as our flagship wine. Stuart’s favorite wines are the two wines of his own, the Viognier and Shiraz. He has always been a Shiraz fan even before he even began his work at Eagles’ Nest.
As the tour ended we found ourselves feeling re-energized and excited to learn more about the rest of the Constantia Region. Every farm has their own special story and different type of soil from which they produce their distinctive wines. For information on one of our tours, please click the link here.
We look forward to hearing from you and sharing more about this remarkable place we live in.