Exclusive, limited, super premium, paying tribute to the rare qualities and lasting love of strong women – Anna is the latest release from boutique Stellenbosch estate Kunjani which has at its heart the celebration of life, love, and soul connections.
Anna is a luxurious and complex barrel-fermented Sauvignon Blanc made especially for Kunjani’s husband-and-wife owners Paul Barth and Pia Watermeyer, to celebrate Paul’s mother Anna, who nurtured his love of farming and wine in the Rheingau region of Germany where he grew up.
The wine brings a European aesthetic to South African white wine – South Africans are obsessed with drinking their Sauvignon Blanc young, in the year of harvest, but the deliberately slow process of growing and making Anna is a pointer to the pleasures possible in allowing a well-made white wine to age into its full potential.
“Memories of my mother are an intrinsic part of my German roots and upbringing on a wine farm, seeing her working side-by-side with my father in the Riesling vineyards and the cellar every day. She taught me to love wine, and to love farming, but more than that, she inspired me with her strength and boldness, her grace and elegance, her joy in life.
“Those qualities linger in my memory, especially when I work in the vineyards of Kunjani and think back to my childhood in vineyards far away,” said Paul.
Although he did not follow in his father’s footsteps at first, Paul dreamed of owning his own wine farm someday. It was his chance meeting with the South African Pia that sparked a cross-continental love story that overcame language and cultural barriers and resulted in their buying land in Stellenbosch and establishing Kunjani with its multi-cultural, sociable atmosphere together with the making of good wine.
“I trace back what I have found in Pia, her strength and warmth, and what we are building together at Kunjani, to my mother’s influence on my life,” Paul said.
Derived from the Hebrew name Hannah, meaning “grace”, “favour” or “beautiful”, and also a Latin form of the Greek name Avva, the name Anna has often been given to saints and queens, and appears across many countries and languages.
Anna passed away in 2020, aged 94, having raised Paul and his sisters Annali and Carla, and the first release of the wine made in her honour is, aptly, a 2020 vintage.
Aptly too, the wine is made by one of the leading women of the South African wine industry, Marinda Kruger-Claassen of Elgin Vintners, from grapes from selected vineyards in the cool-climate mountainous Elgin valley famed for the purity, elegance, and longevity of its Sauvignon Blanc.
Only 500 bottles of Kunjani Anna have been made. Presented in luxurious packaging subtly embellished with Anna’s favourite flower, the ivory rose, each bottle is hand numbered and signed by Paul and Pia, and the wine can only be bought directly at the Kunjani estate.
As it was during Anna’s time, everything about Kunjani Anna is done by hand – from hand-harvesting of the grapes to the sealing, labelling, waxing and packaging of the bottles.
“The beauty of this wine, and how it is packaged and presented, makes it an ideal gift for presentation to a successful woman, a tribute to a mother or a colleague, or for marking a special occasion. This is a wine that is impressive now but will mature into its full power over the next decade, so it is ideal for storing away to open and mark a future milestone,” Pia said.
The high altitude and cool climate of the Elgin valley, with its significant day-night temperature fluctuations, makes for long, slow ripening of grapes, concentrating the flavours and aromas from the berries into the wine.
Taking those qualities through to the cellar, the grapes for Kunjani Anna were hand-harvested in the cool early morning, covered in dry ice to prevent oxidation and to preserve freshness of flavour in the pressing. A low yield of only the free-run and first pressing of juice were used, to eliminate harsh compounds, and allowed to ferment naturally with wild yeasts, a slow fermentation over six weeks.
The wine then matured on the gross lees in large, 500-litre, French oak barrels for nine months.
After bottling, Kunjani Anna was stored another year in bottle for further maturation.
Even now, Anna is a clear, bright golden in colour, the palate rounded, rich and textured with a lingering finish, suggestive of its ageability.
Toasty aromas of honeysuckle, candied pineapple and granadilla curd, with traces of cinnamon and vanilla, lead into a palate of salted caramel, spun sugar, orange preserve and honey, continuing on the rich and flavourful finish.
Kunjani Anna is available directly at the estate at R700 per bottle or from their online shop at www.kunjaniwines.co.za. For more information, contact Pia Watermeyer on 083 261 0338.