Vasco and The Explorers Touriga Nacional
‘‘I am not afraid of the darkness. Real death is preferable to a life without living.’’ Vasco da Gama. This wine is named after Vasco (a 15th century Portuguese explorer) fittingly from one of Portugal’s ‘darkest’ grape varietals.
Vasco da Gama was the first European to reach India by sea via the Cape of Good Hope. Touriga Nacional, one of Portugal’s most revered varieties, loves sun soaked, warm climates and Stellenbosch is the perfect region to enhance ripeness and balance – so that production began to take off in South Africa in the 1990s.
This 100% Touriga Nacional gets plenty of skin to juice contact and is fermented at between 28-32⁰C. It is aged for 6 months in second fill oak casks to round off the tannins.
Deep, dark fruit aromas, good purity of fruit on the palate – blackcurrants with soft tannins and a lovely note of chocolate on the finish.
A perfect match for hearty steaks, burgers, casseroles. Would also work with a vegetarian lasagne.
About the Producer
Vielliera is a large farm on the edge of the Stellenbosch appellation. For over 30 years the Griers of Villiera have been unlocking the marvels of nature to create the distinctive wines and sparkling wines that bear the family name.
Of the 400ha around half is dedicated to vineyards with the balance set aside as a wildlife reserve. This is the quintessential family business, with cousins Simon and Jeff working in the vines and cellar respectively, whilst Jeff’s sister, Cathy, runs the sales and marketing.
One of the early supporters of ‘green’ viticulture, viticulturist Simon Grier has always been a keen supporter of maintaining environmentally friendly vineyard practices. The farm has not sprayed insecticides for the past thirteen years and a flock of 1000 Peking ducks are responsible for some natural pest control.
The Grier’s are also responsible for running several social upliftment projects off the farm, including a day care centre for educating the 30-odd children, belonging to Villiera’s farm workers, and an after-school club. There is also a commitment to the Pebbles Project, teaching the kids the benefits of environmental awareness.
Villiera are also highly active in this field. There is a strong focus on water conservation, recycling and a greening project, which entails the planting of 1000’s of indigenous trees on the farm. This philosophy has led to a vibrant eco-system on the farm, including huge flocks of guinea fowl and pheasant as well as steenbok, Cape foxes, grey mongooses, porcupines and the threatened blue crane.