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Wolf & Woman
29 July 2019

Occasionally we are lucky enough to stumble across a bright, exciting young producer whose approach and attitude immediately instils confidence. Rarer though, is realising that they have yet to release their first vintage and their delicious, characterful and terroir driven wines are a tiny, part-time project. For the time being at least. Well, this is exactly what happened when we met Jolandie Fouché, one of the Swartland’s rising stars. Reflecting on the name “Wolf & Woman” Jolandie explained that “it started a few years back when my husband sent me a quote from the poet Clarissa Pinkola Estés: ‘Some days I am more wolf than woman, and I am still learning how to stop apologising for my wild’. When it came to choosing a name for my own project, her sentiments immediately sprung to mind.”

Growing up the Swartland, Fouche’s goal is to produce wines that reflect her origins in a style “that I like to drink myself. When I started to search for grapes to make a Chenin Blanc I knew I needed grapes that will give me freshness but also richness. The freshness I would get from granite soils and the richness from iron rich red soils. With the help of friends I got hold of old bush vines on both soils and harvested 0.8 tons of each to make a 50/50 blend at the end. My philosophy of making wine is to show the terroir of the grapes as best as possible, and for that reason I don't add anything except sulphur and I make use of neutral vessels for aging. At this stage I am still using old 300L barrels but with time I will add concrete.” Her second wine is a Pinotage, but fear not, this example is a long way from the mainstream, overworked examples. “I bought a few new wave Pinotage examples and loved how the wines showed themselves. I was surprised especially to see how these examples could convey so much about the soils and also the approach of the winemaker. I decided to give it a go. I chose granite soils to work with because Pinotage has naturally low acidity and I knew freshness would be key. When I saw the vines it was love at first sight and as the berries developed I was excited about what I was tasting. My approach is the same with both my wines and fermentation happened naturally, with 20% whole bunches and the balance whole berries. Pinotage has a thick skin and too much extraction would be a mistake for the style I have in mind, thus I wet the cap once a day with no punch downs or working of the cap - a very gentle approach. After fermentation I racked the wine to old 300L barrels. After 10 months I racked and bottled.”

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