Conquering New Pastures – the Spice Route Winery
The name of the Spice Route winery is due to the seafaring men who bravely sailed the stormy seas at the Cape in the 15th century in order to import exotic spices from the Far East to Western Europe. The path they took was the aptly named ‘Spice Route’ which reached from Lisbon around the Cape of Good Hope all the way to the Spice Islands. Charles Back virtually followed on their footsteps as with the founding of Spice Route, he also ventured to the unknown.
From Tobacco to Wine
During the search of new and interesting cultivation areas, Charles Back stumbled upon the tobacco farm ‘Klein Amoskuil’ in Swartland in 1997 – and found what he was looking for. It is here that the oldest Sauvignon Blanc vines of the country, from the year 1965, grow which is quite unusual for the hot Swartland. The quality of the vines spoke volumes for the great potential of this yet uncultivated land and the Spice Route winery was born. Charles Back spent two years transforming the old tobacco sheds into wine cellars and dug up the soils to understand their geology. It took ten years until the team of Spice Route had discovered the ideal locations for wine cultivation. Today, about a quarter of the farm land is planted with vines.
A Piece of Swartland in a Glass
A few kilometres in the south of Malmesbury on the western foot of the Paarde Mountain, the vines benefit from the terroir of clay rich in iron and decomposed granite on the one hand and the cool Atlantic breeze on the other, which helps them through the warm dry summers and cold wet winters in Swartland. The result: complex and rich wines that mirror their terroir and consist of ripe fruits of the finest quality that is increased by skilful wood development – in the same way that carefully selected spices enhance the flavour of a dish. The name Spice Route therefore does not only remember the seafaring men but simultaneously stands symbolically for the style of the wines that are created at Spice Route. The flagship, besides the Single Vineyard Collection, is the elegant red blend called Malabar.
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