Wines are the story of what came before. In the case of experienced winemaker Pieter Rossouw’s new creation, everything began with the grandfathers in whose honour he names his inaugural range – Gabriel & Gysbert. Currently comprising a Chardonnay and a Cabernet Sauvignon, Gabriel & Gysbert speaks of heritage as well as exceptional terroir. Bottled from the 2021 vintage, their fruit hails from the family farm in the age-old winelands of Bonnievale. This is where Pieter was raised.
For years, however, he’d been a traveller. Having completed his B.Agric (Cellar Technology and Viticulture) at Elsenburg in Stellenbosch, he undertook harvests and gained valuable winemaking skill far and wide. He spent time at some of South Africa’s champion wineries as well as in California, Germany, New Zealand and France. He lists his time in New York as a highlight, where he specialised in cool climate varieties. He finally returned to South Africa in 2017 as a long-held dream of wines he could truly call his own came together. The name of the enterprise should reflect their story, he decided and Gabriel & Gysbert Wines was born.
“Pieter Willem Gabriel farmed in Bonnievale his whole life, he was a passionate farmer and loved viticulture. He had five children – three boys and two daughters. All three sons farm in Bonnievale,” Pieter recounts. “Dirk Gysbert Van Renen grew up in the hamlet of Stormsvlei nearby. He was a distiller for Stellenbosch Farmers Winery before starting his own business in Bonnievale.
“My brother and I inherited their names, but these wines are about them – born in remembrance of their legacy in Bonnievale.”
As such, they radiate the climate and aspect of their vineyards’ specific location.
“I seek to make wine that shows the unique qualities of the area rather than forcing a style. Fruit handling is kept to an absolute minimum. The juice is wild fermented, with minimum interference. I want the unique terroir to shine through,” says Pieter. “I make wines I enjoy, wines that are conversation starters.”
The Gabriel & Gysbert Ijsland Chardonnay gets its name from the windswept hill where its grapes thrive. They hail from twin vineyards, planted in 2003 and 2004 on opposing slopes. Each block brings its own unique character and together, a vivacious harmony of lime, fruit, and bold flintiness in the 2021 vintage.
“The low pH and acid will help this wine age for many years,” says Pieter.
The Gabriel & Gysbert Kwartskop Cabernet Sauvignon was made from a small vineyard on a southerly slope. When you approach it in the afternoon, sunlight reflected off stones in the vineyard is the first hint one gets of the white quartz bedrock on which these vines are planted. Together, the effects of light and rock weave this wine’s distinct, fruit-driven personality.
It is notable that every aspect of this wine reflects provenance – even the packaging.
Gabriel & Gysbert Wines are easily recognisable by their distinct label, designed by Archival Studio. It’s resemblance to a typical country quilt in shades of blue, grey, white and black is no accident.
“When I was a child, my mum made me a quilt. She used designs reflecting my favourite things, all arranged around a farmhouse. It would forever show where I came from,” says Pieter. “There’s the fishing rod with a fish; my toy gun with birds; the owl and our cat looking up at it; and the farm tractor.
“To me, the quilt was the perfect way to tell my story and was exactly how I wanted my wines to show.”
The Ijsland Chardonny 2021 and Kwartskop Cabernet Sauvignon 2021 are available online at gabrielgysbert.com as well as selected retailers countrywide. They sell for R250/bottle. Stay up to date by following @gabrielgysbert on Facebook and on Instagram.
For more information, email email@example.com or call 076 256 9445.