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Vergelegen

Willem Adriaan van der Stel took over from his father Simon van der Stel, as Governor of the Cape in 1700. He claimed a 30,000 hectare site for himself, naming it Vergelegen or “situated far and away”, built himself a magnificent Cape Dutch homestead, established gardens and and planted vines. The ancient camphor trees that still flourish on the estate today were planted at this time. Vergelegen is located in Somerset West, nested between the Helderberg and Hottentots Holland Mountains on the Western Cape, but a much smaller estate today. He was corrupt and dictatorial, which led to a farmer's revolt and his subsequent dismissal, and Vergelegen was sold and divided into four separate farms. Vergelegen passed through a succession of owners until 1798 when it was acquired by the Theunissen family, who planted large-scale vineyards and concentrated on grape cultivation. Phylloxera devastated the vines in the late 1800's and wiped out most of the estates grape production. The London-born millionaire mining magnate Sir Lionel Phillips bought Vergelegen in 1917 as a present for his wife Florence, who planted the magnificent gardens, but removed the few remaining vines. Following Lady Phillips death in 1940, the estate was purchased by the Barlow family who re-planted grapes on a small-scale. Vergelegen remained in the Barlow's hands until 1987 when they sold it to the British multinational mining company Anglo American plc. The last vines had been removed in 1962, but they re-established the vineyards and concentrated on the production of high quality grapes. Within 10 years of the first vintage in 1992, Vergelegen was being acknowledged as producing some of South Africa's finest wines. The climate here is mild, due to the proximity of the moderating effects of the Atlantic ocean some six kilometres away. Currently 177 hectares are under vine planted at altitudes between 140 and 310 metres above sea level with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Semillon. The soils are myriad: 21 different types have been identified, including some that are among the most ancient viticultural soils on the planet. Intensive climatic and soil analysis was carried out to match grape varieties and rootstocks to the most suitable soils and situations. The impressive multi-levelled sunken hilltop gravity-flow winery, designed by the architect Patrick Dillon in the early 1990's, is unlike anything previously seen in South Africa. Built in the form of an octagon, which mirrors the octagonal walled garden originally laid out by Willem Adriaan van der Stel in the 18th century, this shape is also mirrored in Vergelegen's wine labels. The same infinite attention to detail in the vineyards is carried out in the cellar with meticulous winemaking, resulting in a stunning portfolio of wines. Vergelegen's terroir-driven multi-awarded wines are world-class, consistent year after year, with the same precision reflected from the flagship wines - the incredible 100% Cabernet Sauvignon Vergelegen V, and red and white G.V.B. Bordeaux blend wines, through the Vineyard, Premium Selection and Reserve ranges. Every bottle from this historic estate shouts quality and from this luxury brand they actually do offer outstanding value for money!