Remember the five-year plan? Did you dread that question in an interview? While some of us have set goals, for many the idea is vague. Regardless, most of us have something we would like to do or be or achieve – whether it is farfetched or attainable. Making that a reality while life happens around us, is the challenge.
I wanted to be a winemaker and I was privileged to have the opportunity to study and go through the ranks to become just that. I then had access to exceptional mentors and in this way, also became interested in and enjoyed the business side of wine – the branding, the marketing, the experience and the development of wine tourism. But, I did not go home with purple stained hands anymore. While our winemaking teams kept me involved with styles and blends, there is something about the creative process that I missed.
In today’s uncertain times, when many have lost their dreams and most of us can’t even plan six months ahead, I am delighted that along with Leopard’s Leap winemaker, Renier van Deventer, I had the opportunity to make my own wine again. A red blend that I believe represents all the intricacies of our diversity, but a wine without pretence, one that is easy to enjoy. I am really passionate about the potential of our terroir and of course protecting our natural resources. Somewhere my love for wine, my belief in the potential of the Cape winelands and the importance of protecting our biodiversity came together and I am so proud to introduce you to a brand new red blend, Pardus.
Pardus is the Latin for panther or leopard and it is of course a fitting name for a new addition to the Leopard’s Leap collection of wines. On the one hand, Pardus acknowledges our lifelong commitment to the protection of our natural treasures – especially through our support of the Cape Leopard Trust and the plight of the vulnerable Cape Mountain Leopard. On the other hand, the 2018 Pardus is all about a wine that can be enjoyed as part of an everyday quality lifestyle – an elegant red blend and a celebration of my love for wine.
The 2018 Pardus expresses the magnificent cat’s charismatic play between intensity and elegance, while being gently approachable. The blend is made up of 60% Merlot (Stellenbosch), 20% Cabernet Sauvignon (Paarl) and 20% Cinsault (Darling). Grapes were hand-picked and hand-sorted. Each variety was fermented and matured separately. Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon were matured for 18 months in a combination of new and used French oak barrels and the Cinsault for 12 months. The nose is layered and multi-dimensional with lively red and purple fruit as well as subtle spice following through on the palate. Beautifully balanced for a well-structured and accessible wine, I believe the 2018 Pardus to be a sophisticated glass on its own, but also a versatile partner with food. For winter, I think earthy mushrooms in a risotto, the mild spice of a Cape Bobotie and a lovely matured hard cheese after dinner – or for dinner! (Detailed Tasting Notes)
If you, like myself, get excited about a delicious red wine that you can just pour every day, I think you might enjoy Pardus. And while we all have our own challenges, whether it is finance, or time or support, in the making of Pardus, I again realised the power of passion with a plan. We can still dream.
PS: Thank you to the Cape Leopard Trust for naming a strong young male leopard, Pardus, in recognition of the work we do together. Tracking the mysteries and meanders of the shy but imposing leopard, Panthera Pardus, are made possible by satellite mapping – the same processes we use to uncover the full dimension of our regional wine varieties. All of this is part of our contribution towards preserving the art of winemaking alongside the natural treasures of the Cape.