As sales of Malbec show no signs of waning it's no surprise that winemakers around the world have given it a go but few with as much success as the self declared King of Malbec Hugo Basson, winemaker at Annex Kloof in Swartland, SA. His Annex Kloof Malbec 2015 has this year been awarded an Old Mutual Trophy and been voted number 1 in Top 12 Wines. It's no surprise then that it has now sold out at the winery. Luckily we still have a few cases of this iconic wine in stock and we couldn't think of a more deserving wine to shine the spot light on in our #muchmuchmore campaign as we continue to showcase the smaller producers in our portfolio this month. Here we get the low down on Hugo's Malbec story so far.
During a tour to Argentina in 1991, Hugo tasted his first Malbec and instantly fell in love. He enjoyed the beautiful fruity character, but …. something was missing. And so began his love affair and life's work to create the best Malbec in South Africa.
Now for the science bit.
The first clone was planted by the Basson family in 1997 (MC1). The next year they planted MC71 and in 2011 MC 629 and they now host all five Malbec clones available. Hugo realised that each clone contributes a different feature to his Malbec and shares with us that MC 1 gives colour and structure, MC 71 gives fruity character of dark berries and raspberries, MC 37 & MC 429 adds spiciness, fine tannins and fynbos character. The personal way that he knows each clone means that he will never lower any of them to a percentage within a blend, something that he believes kills the beauty of the variety's natural fruit character.
What makes Annex Kloof Malbec different?
The whole wine making process is a very hands-on task and the grapes are handled with the utmost care. Grapes are picked by hand in small baskets. “ I do not pick my grapes at a certain balling, but I taste each Malbec block personally and then decide whether it is ready for harvest or not.” All the grapes are naturally fermented in open fermentation tanks and Hugo prefers not to add too much oak to allow the purity of fruit to show. It is therefore aged in 2nd and 3rd fill French Oak for up to 2 years.
Overall Annex Kloof Malbec has received numerous Awards nationally and internationally and is currently rated as the number one Malbec in South Africa.