Winemaker Thierry Haberer of Holden Manz has been making wine around the world for more than a decade, with a love of the craft stemming from his grandfather, originally a vine grower in Morocco, who later became a producer in Corsica, where Thierry’s father still makes wine today.
Some of Holden Manz’s top wines will be showcased when South Africa’s oldest wine show – The Juliet Cullinan Standard Bank Wine Festival – proudly celebrates its 30th anniversary on May 5 and 6 at Summer Place in Johannesburg.
Haberer answered some questions ahead of the festival.
How did you get into winemaking?
My father was a winemaker at our home in Corsica. He specialised in producing rosé wine!
What is your philosophy on winemaking?
I firmly believe that good wines are made in the vineyard. Good terroir is critical, combined with a strong viticultural approach. Grapes must be phenolically ripe to ensure a smooth, round, well-polished wine.
Tell us about one of your wines that will be shown at the Juliet Cullinan Standard Bank Wine Festival and what food it pairs well with?
One I am particularly proud of is the Holden Manz Avant-Garde Barrel Fermented Chardonnay. This wild fermented wine is produced from grapes grown on two cooler climate sites – one of the upper slopes of the Simonsberg and the other next to the sea at Somerset West. This Chardonnay pairs perfectly with roasted chicken with traditional sage and onion stuffing, roast potatoes and seasonal vegetables.
Tell us about some of your wines’ latest awards or achievements?
The above mentioned Barrel Fermented Chardonnay picked up Double Gold at the recent Michelangelo Awards. Also, the Holden Manz Cabernet Franc Reserve is a 4.5-star wine recognised by Platter’s and consistently rated top 6 by the Cabernet Franc Challenge. Wild fermented in brand new French oak barrels, this wine spends 60 days in post-fermentation maceration before maturing in barrels for a further 20 months.
Have you been influenced by any particular winemaker or wine region?
My mentor and friend, the Flying Winemaker, Michel Rolland.
What do you enjoy about your job?
Balancing the combination of nature and nurture in the vineyard as the vines emerge from hibernation and move into flowering, fruit set and finally harvest.
What is your favourite wine to drink?
Holden Manz Elysium – a co-fermented merlot/Syrah restricted to just 800 bottles. As the name suggests drinking this wine takes me to a sense of pure bliss!
What is your favourite food and wine pairing?
Holden Manz Big G – a typical left bank Bordeaux blend of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot – with pan-fried kudu loin, truffle potatoes and heirloom oven-roasted tomatoes.