Bernhard Veller, owner and cellar master of Nitida in the Durbanville Wine Valley, claims that destiny played a large role in his becoming a winemaker. At the age of 25, he looked more like an academic than a farmer though he was already talking about wanting his own piece of space where he could plant vineyards and feed some cows and ultimately make his own cheese and wine.
Always a bit of an academic with a B.Sc Metallurgical Engineering and a Masters degree in Chemical Engineering a future in agriculture looked highly unlikely. But, after working as a project engineer for the Uranium Corporation in Pelindaba, managing a number of manufacturing companies, battling through unionization and economic ups and downs, it did not surprise those close to him when he decided to spend more time dedicated to turning his vision into his reality.
Almost single-handedly, he took a small sheep farm right in the heart of the precious Durbanville hills and converted it into his dream wine farm which today is well known for it's highly acclaimed, hand-made Nitida Wines. Who knows, maybe destiny has some cows in it for his future.
Bernhard retired from the Guild at the end of 2016.
The grapes from pockets of vineyards on Nitida were hand-picked at different ripeness
levels to best express the Nitida terroir. A portion of the wine was fermented in French
oak barrels using only natural/wild yeasts. Thereafter the wine was left on the lees for four
months to enhance the typical varietal characters. The final blend is made up of 68% barrel
fermented (10% 1st fill barrels) and 32% tank fermented Sauvignon Blanc.
We have been working with barrel fermented Sauvignon Blanc for many years and believe
this to be a classic example. Partially fermented in seasoned barrels and some new wood,
with grapes from great vineyards, this wine was bottled after 10 weeks barrel ageing.
Further, this wine has been matured for 12 months in the bottle allowing the further
development of classic Sauvignon Blanc cool climate characteristics.
Wine from a good vintage and a selection of the finest barrels. Nitida has made a St Emilion style Merlot-dominant red blend for many years and these wines have always included a dollop of Cabernet Sauvignon. With this particular wine, we have intentionally left out the Cabernet Sauvignon to differentiate it from our flagship red. This wine highlights the unique terroir of Durbanville, with the very elegant tannins and great fruit expression associated with the area. Tasting Notes: A complex wine displaying robust red fruit from the Merlot and dark lingering fruit from Cabernet Franc. The Petit Verdot adds colour, depth and structure and spiciness. The tannins are elegant and approachable.
After selecting a particularly interesting block prior to harvest, the grapes were sampled regularly in order to pick at optimal ripeness. The wine was fermented in old, 300 litre barrels and matured sur lie for a further 6 weeks in the barrels prior to fining and bottling. Tasting Notes: Complex upfront aromatics displaying tropical citrus and green crispness. Apple tones give way to exciting spice. Durbanville minerality is ever present. Crisp balance of acidity on a creamy palate. This wine will age beautifully.
Durbanville is well known for its Sauvignon Blanc. Over the years we have made Sauvignon Blanc to have a broader appeal in the market. With this wine we have looked for characteristics that are aimed at purist consumers of Sauvignon Blanc who are looking for a racy, expressive wine. We have held this wine back for a year to allow the wine to further develop in the bottle and show its full potential. The grapes saw a late start with delayed budding from a cold and wet September with daily temperatures well below 25 degrees. We managed our vine canopies to maximise thiols, always mindful to not compromise our characteristic high Durbanville pyrazines. We selected grapes carefully from specific vineyards and these were kept separate throughout the processing before the wine was finally blended from our 2 favourite tanks. Tasting note: Inspires a myriad of impressions. Lemon meringue with gooseberries, Seville oranges and Bramley apples. Minerally nettles with just a pinch of Provence herbs. Essential with a snoek beach braai or lunchtime rocket and parmesan salad at the pool Drink this year and in 2012.
Sauvignon Blanc 65%, Semillon 35% After careful selection of our finest, most expressive Sauvignon Blanc and the best new barrel of Semillon, this wine was blended together. Thereafter the wine was placed back into seasoned barrels for a further 9 months to allow for the full integration of the 2 components and to build the mouth-feel of the wine. It was then gently racked from the barrel and bottled after careful filtering. Tasting note: Intensely alluring with fascinating balance and depth. Experience hints of pawpaw, dripping renosterveld honey with a side serving of creme brulee. Hankers for traditional white asparagus with a herb nutti-naise or T-bone with rhubarb infused reduction. Drink in 2011 and 2012.
Aureus is the culmination of years of working with Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. First we ear-marked blocks for particular cultivar personality. These grapes were kept separate in the cellar and then subjected to another round of stringent selection post fermentation (in tank for Sauvignon Blanc and new French oak for Semillon). Finally this unique blend of 56% Sauvignon Blanc and 44% Semillon was put back into a 3rd fill 300 litre French barrel for a further 6 months, which we find completes and complements the wine's integration. Tasting note: A beautifully balanced Bordeaux-style white blend which shows a magic integration of warm creamy honey and nut crunch with cool, crisp green apples. Impressions of dawn jasmine and quince evolve into seductive honeysuckle and loquat, tempting you into indulgence. Begs to be enjoyed with confit of duck or even a guinea fowl pot-roast. Could be habit forming with just about any food, however.
Winemaking Notes A cold and wet budding season led to a perfect long, cool ripening period. This, plus vigilant canopy management and mild stress in the vineyard from dry conditions gave us enviable flavour complexity. The 2009 Decorous is made from our favourite tank of grapes, harvested from a single vineyard on the farm. We picked on flavour looking for our wonderful steely Durbanville pyrazines with just enough tropical flavours to give a balanced full mouthfeel. Healthy grapes meant we could allow 24 hours of skin contact extracting maximum varietal aromas. Decorous is made from only free run juice which is protected and cared for throughout in the very pedantic Nitida way. Tasting Notes A wine to entertain all your senses. Racy, nettle and herb driven nose leads to delicious pyrazine grass and mushy peas on the palate, with super tones of soft pineapple, gooseberries and winter melon. The finish is all distinctive Nitida - full, lovely taut acid with lingering \khakibos\.
Alc 14,02 vol% RS 1,4 g/l TA 6,4 g/l pH 3,25 This wine was carefully selected from our best tank of the 2008 harvest. We allowed our grapes to ripen further than in the past to lend a riper, beautiful tropical fruit character and full mouthfeel to our typical Durbanville pyrazine grassiness. Made from only free run juice which is protected and cared for throughout in the very pedantic Nitida way. Tasting note: A wine that bursts with character from the nose to the palate. A riper than usual example of Nitida Sauvignon Blanc, it gains in tropical character but retains its definitive pyrazine personality. A first impression of flinty, mineral nettles, hinting of granadilla, followed by a mouth full of old fashioned, white, dessert peaches, juicy pear, kiwis and spanspek, with a lovely lingering capsicum finish.
The grapes for this wine come from a single vineyard on a North facing slope in the Durbanville hills. Durbanville's cooler terroir imparts spicy, pepper, Rhone-style characters to its Shiraz fruit, characters which we intentionally protect and emphasise throughout our winemaking process. We hand pre-sort, so that only the ripe fruit is captured. We use only open fermenters, punching the cap through every 4 hours and fermenting at 28 degrees centigrade. With our beautiful fruit quality and soft tannin complexity, there is no need to use heavy new wood or American oak. The wine was matured in second fill French oak for 12 months and the wine picked for the CWG Auction was a selection of the best 2 barrels. Tasting Note: A rare example of pure Rhone-style Syrah, using hand picked and sorted grapes from a single vineyard nurtured in Nitida's intimate cellar. An extremely masculine wine showing pepper and spice complexity around elegant cranberry fruit.
The start of the growing season in Durbanville was much colder than usual, causing most bud burst occurred late. It remained cool throughout the growing period and together with the dryness of the season, this ensured well balanced canopies. As is our strategy, we picked our grapes from a number of different vineyards and vinified each separately. This year we have made our wine for the Auction from grapes off an East facing vineyard showed particular intensity and terroir character. Careful blending with a small amount of Semillon completed the picture. Tasting Note: This wine shows the intense personality of Sauvignon blanc grapes grown in cooler regions. It lives up to expectations with an instant impression of freshness, with white peach flesh and mushy peas, yielding quickly to a full bodied mid-palate featuring gooseberries, granadilla, honeysuckle, and ripe pear with intense New Zealand style pyrazine character. The finish is cool climate green peppers and freshly mown lawn. Firm, steely acids make this Sauvignon blanc a wonderful option with anything from a winter korma curry to fresh barbequed tuna on the beach.