On August 20th my assistant Julia’s sister (who lives in London) sent her a WhatsApp: “This can only be you guys!” – together with a link to Jamie Oliver’s latest Instagram post. It was a review of the Cornwall-based restaurant called Nathan Outlaw (the only Michelin 2 star seafood restaurant in the UK).
Quoting Sir Jamie: “…as for the wine bloody bonkers we had a crazy Assed white label South African super pro home brew wine which blew my mind the dude is clearly equal genius and nutter! it didn’t even say which grapes it was in the bottle but so good ….”
Now I knew Nathan Outlaw sells about 6 of my wines. About a year ago I had the privilege to present a informal tasting to their sommelier, Damon Little, at my cellar in the middle of a chaotic harvest. So when I got the message from Julia’s sister, my thoughts at the time were something along the lines of: I cannot imagine someone being so crazy as to serve Jamie Oliver my wine…. An hour later I received the following mail from Damon:
“Just thought you might like to know that Jamie Oliver fell in love with your wine…. specifically the Hinterhofkabuff. If you Google his latest Instagram. He mentions the wine, but sadly without the specifics. He’s got 3.2 million followers. Nice one!”
Goodness! The crazy super gutsy move of Damon to serve the famous Jamie Oliver my wine…
Anyhow, it appears that The Hinterhofkabuff 2013 blew his mind! So today it is the release of the 2014 Hinterhofkabuff. A straight Riesling from ELGIN.
The 2014 vintage is a slight bit leaner and fresher than the 2013 and received 91 points out of 100 from British Master of wine Tim Atkin in his recent South African wine report.
IM HINTERHOFKABUFF 2014 – The Story:
Some of my German clients think that the “branding” of “IM HINTERHOFKABUFF” was neatly thought through, specially and specifically designed to enter and crack the German wine market for BLANKbottle. And yes, the fact that I called the wine a dialect/regional/nickname sort of German name does make the wine sell in Germany. But the truth is that I cannot take credit for it at all, I am just not all that strategical. The truth is: it fell in my lap.
Early in 2010, a journalist writing for a huge German magazine called the “Stern” phoned me. He was writing an article on South African wineries to visit, aiming it at touring soccer world cup fans. At the time and still today my office is located next to my winery in a very old dilapidated barn type of building. When I moved in I transferred the run down barn into a personal office/lounge with a nice Friday braai facility at the back. No flags, no signage, no fountains – just a run down building with skew walls and heaps of soul.
I told that very persistent German journalist that he could not meet me at the office, that we should rather try a coffee shop. It’s much nicer. As you know, some people don’t take no for an answer, and he was one of them. So he came out to the farm, loved all of it and spent almost 3 hours with me tasting wine and taking pictures.
Three months later my sister-in-law living in Switzerland phoned me to say that there was a massive article on South African wineries in the Stern and that BLANKbottle featured. So she e-mailed me the article and with the help of family I started to decipher the article. This guy kept on using the word HINTERHOFKABUFF whenever he referred to my office. So I looked it up. In old Berlin, Germany, a typical residential property would have a main house where the owner lived, and then had a sort of second house at the back called the HINTERHOF where a second family would live. And at the back of the HINTERHOF they usually had a KABUFF. Which was a little garden sort of shack-house for the very poor people to live in. So the direct translation of HINTERHOFKABUFF – BACKYARDSHACK…
I took an immediate liking to the name and my mom made a sign for my office. “The Hinterhofkabuff”.
So when I made my first Weisser Riesling, a varietal that originated in the Rhine Valley Germany – it was logical to find a proper German name for it.
Hence: Im Hinterhofkabuff! This is a cool climate single vineyard ELGIN wine. You will notice that the packaging changed from the 2012 vintage. This is because the style of the wine changed. The 2012 vintage had a slight bit of sugar left after fermentation. The 2013 vintage was dry, a serious wine. I am not trying to imitate the German Rieslings though, so don’t expect a German style Riessling. I travelled the Mosel, Rheingau and Rheinhessen last year and I think that their wines are super unique and special, but this is South Africa – we have sunshine! And the Hinterhofkabuff captures that. The Hinterhofkabuff 2014 is a bit leaner and fresher than the 2013. It was made with minimum interference – no sulfur was added before fermentation, no enzymes, no acid etc. The pure juice went into large older wooden fermenters and fermented spontaneously. It received a little bit of sulphur just before bottling and that was it. So what I am trying to say is that this is an honest wine representing a little vineyard in the Elgin valley – proudly South African. Enjoy!