You are currently viewing Unique traits of granddaughters help Gyles Webb to name new reserve range of Sutherland icon wines
Unique traits of granddaughters help Gyles Webb to name new reserve range of Sutherland icon wines
  • Post category:Food & Wine
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Anna… Emily… Lisa… Sarah: The patient, the feisty, the curious, and the playful – are the four new iconic reserve wines from Gyles Webb’s cool-climate Sutherland Vineyards in Elgin, named after his four granddaughters, with the wines a reflection of the unique character traits of each grandchild. After establishing Thelema Mountain Vineyards as an iconic Stellenbosch winery in 1983, Gyles started developing Sutherland Vineyards in 2002 as an exciting new venture in the exceptional cool-climate Elgin vine-growing area in the mountain ranges of the Overberg. The first Sutherland wines were released in 2005 and have built a formidable reputation for terroir-driven quality, complementing the esteemed range from Webb’s iconic Thelema winery.

Uniquely set on a high plateau surrounded by four mountain ranges, Sutherland Vineyards are just 9 km off the Atlantic Ocean, with altitudes of 140 to 250 metres above sea level, with ideal cool climate conditions and soils ranging from Tukulu to Glenrosa. Webb says the four wines are made from grape varieties that have proven to have adapted to the unique Elgin terroir, allowing for wines with so much
individual personality that they were crying out for persons to be associated with. “I just could not think of better people to attach to these wines than my four granddaughters,” says Webb, “four very different, lovable characters with their own personality able of giving a voice and identity to these individual wines.”The wines are Anna Chardonnay, Emily Petit Verdot, Sara Red (Cabernet Sauvignon) and Lisa Grenache. Anna Chardonnay 2017 (“the patient one”) Crafted from the finest lots, the Anna Chardonnay – an elegant, pure and nuanced wine – is named after Anna Vivienne Hilton (“the patient one”) – and Gyles’s first granddaughter. The Anna Chardonnay ushers in the third generation of the Webb family and is a reason to explore the family legacy with something exceptional.Gyles says healthy grapes with smaller berries and good fruit intensity were harvested despite the drought and dry and warm weather during the growing season. The below-average cool nights gave colour and a positive boost to the flavour development of the vines planted in 2004.

“Our decision of when to pick a vineyard is influenced by retaining natural grape acidity and obtaining sufficient fruit ripeness without excessive alcohol,” he says. “This wine underwent alcoholic fermentation in new French oak barrels to maintain freshness, and malolactic fermentation was kept to a minimum. The wine was aged in the barrel for ten months with periodic lees stirring. Twelve new French oak barrels that best reflect their sites were selected from our five chardonnay vineyards.”Suggestions for food pairing include a forest mushroom risotto topped with truffle oil and parmesan. The residual sugar is 1,7 g/L, and the total acid is 6.1g/L, with alcohol at 13% and 3,28 pH. Recent scoring includes 94 by the Tim Atkin South Africa Special Report of 2022, 93 points by the Decanter World Wine Awards 2022, and Platter’s Wine Guide 2022, whilst at the International Wine Challenge 2022, a point of 92 was achieved. Emily Petit Verdot 2020 (“the feisty one”) This wine is named after Emily Edna Hilton (“the feisty one”) – Gyles’s second granddaughter- strong, untamed, and spirited. The Emily Petit Verdot bears the characteristics of a typical dry year, though moderate, mild conditions throughout the season offered brilliant fruit quality. Despite smaller berries and a lighter crop stemming from the dryer and windy conditions, the grapes showed good acidity and balanced sugar, delivering well-concentrated and structured wines.

Sutherland’s two east-facing Petit Verdot vineyards, planted adjacent to each other, produce a perfumed yet powerful wine. Harvested by hand at the point of intersection between tannin ripeness and fruit concentration, the fermenting juice is pumped over once a day for the first two-thirds of the fermentation and then left alone to ferment dry without any more extraction. The result is a perfumed and ink-black wine with fine, dry tannins and hints of cedar and violets-a perfect partner for herb-crusted lamb kebabs and lamb dishes.

The various parcels within these vineyards were fermented apart, allowing the Sutherland team to select the best 5 barrels for this reserve bottling. The wine was aged in 100% new, tight-grain French oak barrels for 18 months. Platter’s Wine Guide 2023 scored the Emily wine 94 points, and Tim Atkin South Africa Special Report 2022 gave it 92. Sarah Red 2017 (“the curios one”) Quietly confident and complex with the promise of blossoming over time, this wine is named after Sarah Rose Webb (“the curious one”) with the 2017 vintage made from Cabernet Sauvignon. 2017 was one of the best vintages for red wines in decades, which already showed when tasting the ripe berries before picking. The grapes were destemmed and hand-sorted to retain as much of the whole berry as possible. The fermenting juice was pumped over twice a day until fermentation was complete, after which four to five days of extended maceration were allowed before pressing. After 18 months of ageing in French oak, the winemaking team selected five
barrels that most reflect the site, vintage, and belief of what this wine should be, resulting in a wine with silky fine tannins, restrained black fruit and a solid structure.

The Platter’s Wine Guide 2023 and the Tim Atkin South Africa Special Report 2022 scored it 93 points.
Lisa Grenache 2017 (“the playful one”) Graceful but also vibrant and jovial, this “playful” wine is named after Lisa Rose Webb (“the playful one”). Scored 92 points by Tim Atkin South Africa Special Report 2022 and Platter’s Wine Guide 2023, this benchmark Grenache was created through precise vine management and Gyles’s goal to reflect the distinct terroir of Sutherland’s two unique Grenache sites. Both vineyards are planted in Bokkeveld shale. The crop is reduced to one bunch per bearer, with the bunches having their “tips and shoulders” removed to produce smaller berries and a bunch that fits into the palm of one’s hand. Submerged cap fermentation provides a complex and structured wine which is aged for 18 months in 10-year-old red wine barrels. One racking is applied before the wine is fined and bottled. Webb says that all four wines will, like their namesakes, evolve into graceful maturity. “Although already charming and lovable, these wines will – like the girls – mature into complex, wonderful adults and unforgettable features of our family,” he says.


For more information, contact Diaan van Zyl at / 082
710 1917 / +27 21 885 1924.

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