Botanica, Devon Valley, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Ginny Povall, originally from New England, cultivates 53 acres of land of which 24 acres are allocated to protea flowers (South Africa’s national flower) and 12 acres to vineyards. Back in the late 1940s, it was the first farm in South Africa to cultivate proteas. Ginny is now making some exquisite wines from chenin blanc, pinot noir, and the traditional red Bordeaux varieties. Her Protea Heights Farm is located in Devon Valley, just 10 minutes from the center of Stellenbosch. Ginny is an exciting grower and one to keep an eye on – her vibrant and charming personality shine through in her wines that are refined, textured, and alive!
The inspiration for the name of the range of wines and the design of the labels was a trip to the Yale Center for British Art where there was an exhibition of Mary Delany’s work. In the eighteenth century Mary Delany produced a remarkable series of botanical collages that are beautifully crafted from hundreds of tiny pieces of cut paper. Ginny was fortunate enough to be able to obtain a license for a few of Mary Delany’s collages and these have become the basis of the stunning artwork on the labels.
In August 2009 Ginny began planting her first vineyards with petit verdot, cabernet sauvingon and merlot. In 2010 she finished the planting with more cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and some cabernet franc. She also selected a small block that is the coolest site on the farm for some pinot noir. Some fruit is bought in however, and the chenin blanc comes from a vineyard high in the mountains of Clanwilliam, 25 miles from the sea at 1600 feet elevation. Dry farmed, as there is no longer any water available, these approximately 50 year old vines produce a mere 2.5 tons per hectare. The wine is 50% barrel fermented/matured in 400 liter French oak barrels. The pinot noir, which resembles a Côte-de-Beaune wine with its undertow of minerality and earthiness, is made with fruit from the Hemel-en-Aarde valley.
Ginny also makes wines from her young vines under the Big Flower label.
Botanica Chenin Blanc 2015 – 96 points Tim Atkin MW
Botanica Chenin Blanc 2014 – 5 Stars Platter, 90 points Stephen Tanzer
Botanica Arboretum 2014 – 91 points Robert Parker
Botanica Pinot Noir 2015 – 92 points Tim Atkin MW, 4.5 Stars Platter, 90 points Stephen Tanzer
Botanica Semillon 2014 – 94 points Tim Atkin MW