Mick and Jeanine, otherwise known as Craven wines, paid us a visit recently to go through their range. We were so impressed that we wanted them to be the first featured producer on our brand new website.
The range is varied, and dynamic, so there are plenty of styles and vibes here. The key thread is quality, and a respect for the unique character of the vineyard.
Mick and Jeanine met working as cellar hands in Sonoma, California, whilst both studying oenology. After finishing their studies, they moved back to Jeanine’s hometown of Stellenbosch, with the aim of producing their own wines. Kicking off with their first vintage in 2014 – the couple have quickly become one of South Africa’s most exciting wineries.
They key for Craven, is that all the wines are sourced from single vineyards. They’re obsessed with finding the right soils for the right grape varieties and producing site-specific expressions. This gives a unique take on Stellenbosch, where many wineries use grapes from across the region to create their wines.
The idea is to let the grapes speak for themselves and of the place, rather than adding flavour or manipulating the character of the fruit. A common practice in many parts of the industry. To that end the grapes are gently fermented using natural yeast in large old oak, or concrete vats. The wines are made ‘naturally’ right up until bottling, when a small dose of sulphur is added to preserve the fruit character of the wine.
The South African climate is clearly in play in these wines, with ripe fruit flavours and textural character, but the deft touch in the cellar ensures the wines are pure and vibrant, with more than a nod to European winemaking sensibilities.