Nicholas Coleman ©2019

The Coleman Collection #15

Producer: Wildekrans
Region: Botrivier, South Africa
Cultivar: FS-17
Harvest: May 2019

Everything is strategic… you don’t just plant a tree. This philosophy guides lifetime farmer Braam Gerick. He’s overseen the olive and viniculture program at Wildekrans since 2008 with a simple vision: let the cultivar express itself in an authentic way. The groves are planted on both Northeast and Southwest exposures, channeling blocks to maximize pollination during flowering. The hilly, shale-like soil absorbs and quickly releases water – a key attribute to minimize humidity. Braam’s team hand-harvests each tree thrice: at onset of veraison, at 50% veraison, and finally they strip the tree. The fruit is cold extracted on site through an impressive three ton per hour Oliomio. His attention to detail coupled with a suitable microclimate yields superb quality. This release marks their inaugural entry in the United States.

FS-17 is a Frantoio olive clone from Italy. The letter F refers to Prof. Fontanazza of Perugia who designed it, while S17 is the greenhouse number related to the crossing of Frantoio. It has spread throughout South Africa, Spain, Argentina, Chile, France and Australia due to its scaled-down height, which facilitates an easier harvest.

This monocultivar FS-17 has undertones of freshly cut grass, a hint of artichoke and green leaves, and hits the mouth clean with notes of almond, herbs, balanced bitterness and a long delayed peppery finish. The cause of this intense peppery sensation – considered an attribute of quality olive oil – is oleocanthal, a natural phenolic compound that has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Excellent poured raw over grilled courses such as finfish, crustaceans, bruschetta, charred meat, beans and seasonal vegetables.

South Africa is characterized by a warm growing area with 85% of all vineyard plantings dedicated to white grape varieties. Most are clean, fresh, and vibrant with bright notes of acidity and salinity. Chenin Blanc, locally referred to as steen, leads the way for white grape varieties and produces a dizzying array of styles ranging from dry to sweet. Pinotage remains the dominant red grape variety. Wines produced from Pinotage are light to medium bodied with floral notes of raspberries, dark blackberries, and subtle flavors barnyard and underbrush. While not too heavy, they are ideal for the coastal fare of South Africa’s maritime cuisine. Seek out producers Diemersdal, Lanzerac, and Longbridge Wine Estate for exemplary versions of Pinotage.