Worcester, South Africa
Alvi’s Drift wines are produced at Alvi’s Drift Private Cellar in the pristine Breede River Valley in the Western Cape of South Africa. The cellar and farm are owned and operated by the 2nd and 3rd generations of the van der Merwe family.
Alvi’s Drift Private Cellar takes its name from the low water bridge crossing the Breede River on the family farm which is know as Alfalfa. Alfalfa is a 7,000ha property owned by the van der Merwe family with 410 ha dedicated to 19 grape varieties. Chenin Blanc and Pinotage are specialties.
Built by Albertus Viljoen (Alvi) van der Merwe (the 1st) in 1928 to allow access to the family property, the drift became known locally as Alvi’s Drift. The property includes a game reserve with eland, springbok, ostriches and gemsbok among others.
LINLEY SCHULTZ, WINEMAKER
Linley Schultz is a winemaker with 31 years experience in the international wine industry. He started with Tollana wines in 1980 and worked there for 3 years while completing matric at night school.
He learned all aspects of winemaking with Tollana before completing a winemaking degree at Roseworthy Agricultural College in South Australia. After graduating, he spent 8 years with Southcorp wines, 3 years as an international consultant working in Germany, Italy, Hungary, Portugal, Spain and Argentina, 3 years managing the Renmano winery for BRL Hardy in Australia and 8 years as chief winemaker of Distell in RSA. This experience is unique within the South African wine industry.
The wine making team of Alvi van der Merwe and Henk Swart bottled the maiden vintage of Alvi’sDrift in 2004. Linley Schultz joined the team in late 2009 and together they manage the farm’s 7,000 tonne winery.
Alvi’s Drift range of wines consists of 4 tiers. The entry level wines are signed by Alvi van der Merwe and are referred to as the Signature range. The signature range offers single varietal wines which feature 4 reds, 4 whites and a rose’. There is also a chardonnay pinot noir.
Made in a fruit driven style, the wines offer outstanding value for money within the South African context.
The reds are single varietals, cabernet sauvignon, shiraz, merlot and South Africa’s signature wine, pinotage. All have good, bright garnet colours with obvious but integrated oak and balanced tannin structures. The shiraz show vanilla and spicy pepper with a medium body. ,The cabernet is full and ripe with dark berry fruit characters and a robust but balanced structure. The merlot shows dark berry and tobacco with a medium body. The pinotage is full of ripe mulberries with a hint of vanilla and is a balanced and easy drinking style.
The whites are chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, viognier and South Africa’s signature white, chenin blanc. The chardonnay is lightly oaked, integrated, with hints of melon and peaches and is beautifully balanced. The viognier is very lightly oaked and is very much a fruit driven wine showing rich and intense fresh stone fruit characters. The sauvignon blanc is unwooded and shows typical but restrained grassy and herbaceous fruit characters, a fresh and easy drinking style. The chenin blanc is also unwooded, is a big, full, fresh and fruity wine showing nectarine fruit characters.
The rose’ is 100% pinotage and is made in a light, fruity style showing aromas of raspberries and strawberries.
The chardonnay pinot noir is a style unique to South Africa and offers a medium bodied, unwooded white wine with creamy characters with the pinot noir offering a hint of strawberries.