Rose Murray Brown: Meet South Africa’s coolest new wine estate operators

A number of new wine estates from South Africa are trying to attract our attention. Here are two which look the most interesting, show good potential and produce wine which is available in the UK.

Published 23rd Feb 2016
Updated 21 st Sep 2023

The Goose Wine Estate

This is owned by professional golfer Retief Goosen, who has a new wine range called The Goose Wines. Goosen is not the first Cape golfer to invest in wine, but the location of his wine farm, which he owns with Dr Werner Roux, is very interesting. It is one of the coldest vineyard spots in South Africa, high up in Upper Langkloof Valley on the northern slopes of the Outeniqua mountains in Klein Karoo.

Upper Langkloof valley is better known for the quality of its fruit – pears, apricots and apples (which are bought for the famous Appletiser brand) – rather than its vines. At an altitude of 2,500 feet, where average annual temperatures hover around 17C, with summer winds keeping the vines cool in the heat, this area, located just 15km from the Indian Ocean is certainly a challenging new area to grow vines.

Cabernet sauvignon and shiraz were first planted back in 1999 and 2000, followed by sauvignon blanc and all are performing well.
My favourite of the range is their only white, the single vineyard The Goose Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (around £12.99). It’s a surprising find as it is unlike any New World sauvignon blanc I have tasted – and it looks different too, in a riesling flute-shaped bottle. With hints of lemongrass, appley notes and a touch of spice on the aroma, a very broad, rich mouthfeel alongside zesty flavours and high natural acidity – it is far more textured than any other sauvignon I have tasted in South Africa and very different from a pungent Kiwi Marlborough sauvignon.

The Goose Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (around £13-£14) is a bold red with sweet black cherry and cassis aromas, a velvet smooth palate, firm ripe tannins and shows potential for ageing. More approachable now with soft mouthfeel, a light spicy, smoky palate and soft smooth tannins is The Goose Shiraz 2012 (around £13.99), which is very appealing. The pricier The Goose Pinot Noir 2013 (around £18.99) is a well-made pinot with herb and liquorice aromas with earthy forest floor notes – the only one made from bought in grapes from Walker Bay (Cape’s classic pinot noir region) and Stellenbosch.

The Goose Wines are available from Ellies Cellar in Auchterarder, Perth, Linlithgow, Alva, Crieff, Dollar and Helensburgh,; De Burgh Wines, Dalkeith,; Vinos Wines, Edinburgh,; Hard to Find Wines,

Holden Manz Wine Estate

Another relatively new wine estate is Holden Manz. Based in the popular Franschhoek Valley, now a bijou tourist gem with its wine farms, tasting rooms, restaurants and spas – this estate sparked my interest for two reasons. Firstly, it is based in the coolest part of Franschhoek between the Franschhoek and Stony Brooks rivers near one of my favourite Cape estates Boekenhoutskloof – and secondly Holden Manz have just taken on a new French winemaker Thierry Haberer, who worked for the famous Bordeaux wine consultant, Michel Rolland.

The estate was bought by Gerard Holden and Migo Manz – hence the name – in 2010. Investing heavily in the tourist market, they have a fine guest house, spa and restaurant, but it was the wine potential that I wanted to investigate. Sixteen hectares of unirrigated vineyards based in the Franschhoek valley provide some of the fruit, with further grapes bought in from Elgin and Stellenbosch.

Full chunky Holden Manz Rosé 2015 (£10) is from a very successful Cape vintage; it’s a very fruity rosé, with some intensity – better with food than a poolside sipper. Much more serious, as the price indicates, is Holden Manz Barrel Fermented Avant Garde Chardonnay 2014 (£24). Very juicy, very ripe citric fruits, rich leesy, full-flavoured and oaky (just 10 per cent new oak used; the remainder older oak). This chardonnay (my favourite in the range) is very appealing, complex with a lingering length, refreshed by a fine core of minerality. A fine example from bought-in Elgin fruit (2015 vintage will be made from Stellenbosch fruit).

Tasted blind, the spicy aromas and upfront fruit flavours of Holden Manz Vernissage Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz 2013 (£9.99) would have led me to think it had pinotage in the blend. With its intense spice character and rather chewy grippy tannins, it would suit those who like chunky reds. More impressive is the six-grape Bordeaux blend: Holden Manz Visionaire 2012 (£14) is a powerful slicker red with blackcurranty cabernet fruit dominating. The Holden Manz range also consists of a fine complex cabernet franc and the polished elegant Big G red (£25).

Holden Manz wines are available from WoodWinters, Edinburgh and Bridge of Allan,;

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• Join Rose’s Classic Wine Dinner at Rhubarb, Edinburgh on 12 May,

Rose Murray Brown is one of only 323 Masters of Wine worldwide and is the only one to host wine courses and regular wine tastings in Scotland.
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