Journey’s End, the boutique winery and vineyard, owned by the Gabb family, and situated on the mountain slopes above Sir Lowry’s Pass Village in the Helderberg basin, have released their rebranded top-tier Precision Series range of wines to high acclaim.
HIGH ACCLAIM FROM DECANTER MAGAZINE
The Precision range of very small production wines, which sits at the tip of the pyramid at Journey’s End, consists of three super premium wines – Destination Chardonnay, Cape Doctor Bordeaux-Varietals Red Blend and The Griffin Syrah. All three Precision Series wines recently received outstanding scores in Decanter magazine, one of the world’s most influential wine publications read in over 90 countries, and home to the prestigious Decanter World Wine Awards. At the 2020 Decanter World Wine Awards in September Journey’s End Cape Doctor 2015 was awarded a mighty 97 points and a Platinum Medal – the highest scoring red wine from South Africa. In addition, Journey’s End Destination Chardonnay 2018 and The Griffin Syrah 2016 were both honoured with 91 points in Decanter. The Destination Chardonnay 2018 also received a Gold Medal at the 2020 Michelangelo International Wine and Spirits Awards.
“We are extremely pleased to have the calibre of our three Precision Series wines, as well as a number of our other wines, endorsed by the internationally acclaimed Decanter magazine and the Michelangelo International Awards. Made from tiny parcels of excellent fruit selected from single vineyard blocks on the slopes of the famous Schapenberg Hills overlooking False Bay, our Precision Series range represents the very pinnacle of Journey’s End winemaking. These accolades are a testament to our unique terroir and the skill and dedication of our teams in the vineyards and in the cellar”, says managing director, Rollo Gabb.
REBRANDING OF JOURNEYS END WINES
Rollo Gabb continues, “The Journey’s End range of wines is split into three tiers, each with their own character. We recently decided to revamp all three wine series – Tales Series, V Series and Precision Series – with creative new packaging to give clearer differentiation between the three tiers and to better reflect the character of Journey’s End, our team and our wines – we’re always pushing boundaries, being forward-thinking, innovative and somewhat quirky. Our new look Tales and V Series wines have already been released and we are delighted to present our new vintage Precision Series wines in their striking new packaging.”
JOURNEY’S END PRECISION SERIES
JOURNEY’S END DESTINATION CHARDONNAY 2018
The Name: “Loved by all, this Chardonnay is a ‘Destination’ Chardonnay. Just like a ‘Destination’ Restaurant or ‘Destination’ holiday spot, it will be well worth your while to visit us at Journey’s End. We aim to deliver the ultimate Chardonnay, enticing people from far and wide and rewarding them with this discovery. This wine pays homage to the great Chardonnays from Meursault, but with a Journey’s End twist. This wine is a remarkable feat from our winemakers, Leon Esterhuizen and Mike Dawson,” says Rollo Gabb.
In The Vineyard: The grapes were handpicked from block 16A (eight-year-old vines), a pocket of excellent quality Chardonnay vines identified by vineyard drone footage. Fertile soils create large canopies of foliage allowing for the grapes lengthy hangtime. Alternative sides of the trellis were picked almost two weeks apart, the morning sun side contributing towards the wines citrus and mineral notes and the afternoon sun side imparting ripe stone fruit characters.
In The Cellar: After being picked early in the morning, grapes were sorted before being whole bunch pressed. Only free run juice was used and was fermented naturally in a combination of 300L and 228L French oak barrels. The Destination was naturally fermented, and the wine underwent 10% malolactic fermentation naturally. The wine was left on the fine lees and stirred frequently for a period of ten months before being blended in a stainless-steel tank, fined and bottled. The Destination Chardonnay is fined with bentonite which means this wine is vegan friendly.
Tasting Notes: The Destination is the pinnacle of white winemaking at Journey’s End. It is rich and full on entry and throughout. The nose exhibits concentrated apricot and ripe peach with layers of lime zest and orange. The fruit component is complemented by well-balanced almond and vanilla spice from generous oak aging. Minerality ensures freshness and adds linearity to a long-lasting creamy finish. The Destination Chardonnay will reward patient cellaring for up to ten years post bottling.
Limited Production: Only 20 barrels produced.
Accolades: 91 Points at the 2020 Decanter World Wine Awards in September, and a Gold Medal at the 2020 Michelangelo International Wine and Spirits Awards.
Purchase: The Journey’s End Destination Chardonnay 2018 is available for purchase at Journey’s End Vineyards cellar door, online at https://shop.journeysend.co.za/ for R280 and nationally at select fine wine merchants as well as at leading restaurants.
JOURNEY’S END CAPE DOCTOR (THE RED) 2015
The Name: This wine is named after the ‘Cape Doctor’, the cooling and cleansing south-easterly wind that blows through the vineyards from False Bay, bringing many benefits to the vineyards.
The Blend: Bordeaux-style red blend – 39% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 17% Petit Verdot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 5% Malbec
In The Vineyard: The grapes come from five adjacent blocks on the farm stretching between 180m and 215m above sea level in close proximity (8km) to the ocean. The grapes are uniquely influenced by the nearby Eucalyptus forest which also serves as a wind break against the powerful Cape Doctor wind.
In The Cellar: The grapes from each block were picked and treated separately utilising stainless-steel tanks as well as 5000L truncated open top casks. Each varietal underwent a four-day pre-fermentation cold soak. After fermentation, only the Cabernet Sauvignon was subjected to a two-week post fermentation maceration to ensure a solid tannic structure. The wine spent 20 months maturing in barrel – the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot components in 100% new French oak; the other varietals in second-fill French oak. The Cape Doctor is unfined and unfiltered where the process of extended barrel maturation manages to fine the components naturally.
Tasting Notes: This wine exhibits fruits on the darker side of the spectrum with cassis and rich fruitcake on the nose accompanied by cinnamon spice and dark chocolate from generous oak aging. Concentrated blackberries are complemented by a creamy texture, with soft elegant tannins delivering a beautiful long-lasting finish. Despite the current appeal, there is enough underlying power for a long future ahead. Drink now or up until 2030.
Limited Production: Only 15 barrels produced.
Accolades: 97 Points and a Platinum Medal – the highest scoring South African red wine – at the 2020 Decanter World Wine Awards in September.
Purchase: The Journey’s End Cape Doctor 2015 is available for purchase at Journey’s End Vineyards cellar door, online at https://shop.journeysend.co.za/ for R280 and nationally at select fine wine merchants as well as at leading restaurants.
JOURNEY’S END THE GRIFFIN 2016
The Name: The ‘griffin’ is a mythical creature (half eagle and half lion) known to protect very precious things. The griffin is a part of the Gabb’s Welsh heritage and can be found on the Gabb family crest. A pair of griffins guard the entrance to the Gabb family’s cellar at Journeys End.
The Blend: 100% Syrah
In The Vineyard: The grapes were handpicked from block 13 (21-year-old vineyard), nestled 180m above sea level behind a row of pine trees which serve as a wind break. The block was picked very slowly and carefully from midday into the afternoon to ensure warmer grape temperatures upon intake. All leaves and excess stems are removed from the bunch before being processed.
In The Cellar: The Griffin is a unique product in the Journey’s End range of wines, as it is the only wine that undergoes carbonic maceration, a way of fermenting red wine that differs from the standard. Carbonic maceration is a process that affects the style of red wine, producing an irresistibly juicy fruit-forward wine with freshness, bright acidity and soft smooth tannins. Unlike standard fermentation, where the grapes are crushed, whole bunches of grapes are left in the sun until late afternoon to heat up and then placed in stainless steel tanks which are filled with CO² to remove all oxygen present and then sealed. The tank is then left for ten days without opening to undergo a carbonic fermentation. The oxygen-starved fruit releases naturally present enzymes, breaking down berry cell walls and releasing juice in a very natural and soft fashion. Essentially, during carbonic maceration, the whole berries begin to ferment from the inside with the help of natural enzymes and yeasts indigenous to the vineyards. They use the available CO² to break down sugars which produce alcohol, along with a range of compounds that affect the wine’s final flavour. Carbonic maceration incorporates constant but very gentle skin contact with no pump-overs to ensure a sufficient amount of CO² and to prevent the incorporation of oxygen. After fermentation, the wine was pressed off the skins and aged for 16 months – 20% in new American oak, 20% in new French oak and 60% in a combination of second- and third-fill French oak barrels.
Tasting Notes: A youthful yet complex wine, the warm and seductive nose displays luscious red and black berry fruit and violets edged in vanilla, plus pepper spice and an earthy character. Rich and succulent, powerful black fruit flavours are supported by silky polished tannins which provide structure and deliver an elegant lingering finish. The use of American oak adds subtle caramel notes as well as palate weight and mouthfeel. Drink now or up until 2026.
Limited Production: Only 19 barrels produced.
Accolades: 91 Points in Decanter magazine in August 2020.
Purchase: The Journey’s End The Griffin 2016 is available for purchase at Journey’s End Vineyards cellar door, online at https://shop.journeysend.co.za/ for R280 and nationally at select fine wine merchants as well as at leading restaurants.
THE JOURNEY’S END STORY, VINEYARDS AND CELLAR
The Gabb family, originally from Shropshire, UK, began their wine journey in South Africa in 1995, when Roger Gabb, founder and managing director of UK wine importer Western Wines, bought the Journey’s End farm and 20 hectares of vineyard. Following the sale of Western Wines to Constellation Brands in 2006, the family turned their focus to their estate, Journey’s End. Since taking the helm in 2007, Roger’s son Rollo has substantially increased the estate’s landholding and invested heavily in new vineyard plantings and a solar powered 350-ton state-of-the-art winery.
Situated on the south-west facing slopes of the famous Schapenberg Hills overlooking False Bay, the Journey’s End vineyards enjoy the many benefits of their unique Schapenberg terroir, increasingly recognised as one of the premier cool-climate growing areas in South Africa. Here the vineyards are fanned by the cleansing and cooling powerful south-easterly wind that blows in from the nearby ocean, ensuring perfect conditions for low yields and slow ripening, producing highly concentrated grapes with fantastic firm acidity. The grapes are also very healthy. Fungal diseases and pests are almost non-existent due to the wind factor, which allows for the implementation of biodynamic farming principles. All Schapenberg soils are relatively low in fertility, again contributing to low yields and deep-rooted vines, both key to the production of top-quality wines.
The very modern cellar provides cellarmaster Leon Esterhuizen and winemaker Mike Dawson with everything they need to produce the highest-quality wines. The winery’s philosophy is one of minimal interference winemaking allowing nature to run its course, and using only the highest specification oak barrels, concrete eggs and terracotta amphorae to add a touch of complexity and sophistication. Journey’s End combine traditional winemaking methods, modern technology and a degree of experimentation to produce dynamic fruit-driven wines with great elegance and depth.
JOURNEY’S END VINEYARDS – ONE OF SOUTH AFRICA’S MOST EXPERIMENTAL AND SUSTAINABLE WINERIES WITH A HUGE FOCUS ON SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
USING INNOVATION TO STAY AHEAD
Rollo Gabb continues, “In addition to our new branding, we have also been very busy in the winery and the vineyard focusing on new innovations. In the winery, we have recently introduced amphora pots and a concrete egg to give a different structure and mouthfeel to some of our wines. We are also employing innovative methods with wasted grape stalks, which are mixed with chicken manure, hay and lime to form a fermented compost. This emulsion is then used on new vineyard plantings and has enabled our team to plant one of the highest blocks of Cabernet Sauvignon in the Stellenbosch wine appellation. I believe we were also one of the first South African wineries to utilise drone technology in the vineyards to gather data such as heat and sunlight, density of soil, drainage of water, shaded areas and topographies to help us micro-manage our vineyards.”
COMMITMENT TO ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY
There is a tangible and deep respect for the environment at Journey’s End, clearly apparent in farming practices that are integrated as closely to nature as is possible. Lupins (a natural nitrogen fixer) and wheat grow between the rows of vines to prevent weeds (and thus the need for chemical spraying), prevent topsoil erosion and improve the soil’s health. The introduction of Egyptian Geese (to control snail populations) and Barn and Eagle Owls (to control rodents) and the use of natural pesticides all play their part in ensuring that the environment is preserved and protected.
Rollo enthuses, “We love the area’s wildlife, birdlife and nature and have set aside large tracts of land to conserve and re-introduce indigenous wildlife and plant life species. New floating wetlands will increase aquatic biodiversity, improve water quality and create a habitat for water birds. Bees are an essential part of the pollination of the vines. There are 40 hives around the vineyards that house the little bee army which is so vital to the production of grapes. Owl boxes on the farm provide rest for the resident Spotted Eagle Owls.
We are also extremely vigilant and innovative when it comes to water conservation and supply to keep us self-sufficient. We were also the 2nd wine producer in South Africa to convert to solar energy in 2014.”
COMMITMENT TO SOCIAL REPONSIBILITY AND THE LOCAL COMMUNITY
AND THE LAUNCH OF THE JOURNEY’S END FOUNDATION
For many years, Journey’s End have placed a big focus on supporting the winery’s local community, Sir Lowry’s Pass Village. As well as providing employment at the winery, the team has worked closely with community heads to channel resources into a number of development programmes which include running soup kitchens, pensioners lunches, building the school a new hall, funding a creche and a campaign to eradicate bullying in the township schools.
Journey’s End’s latest and most extensive community project is the establishment of the Journey’s End Foundation, an NGO focussed on tackling hunger and extreme poverty in the Helderberg region which has increased dramatically as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Journey’s End Foundation has set up a network of nine soup kitchens and has committed funds to provide over 400,000 meals over the coming 12 months.
VISIT JOURNEY’S END VINEYARDS
The stylish tasting centre, glassed on three sides, overlooks the barrel cellar and embraces the untrammelled beauty of the panoramic vista. The décor is elegantly minimalist and chic, and the centre spills out onto a spacious terrace, offering spectacular views of mountains, vineyards and False Bay, all the way across to Cape Point.
- Tasting and sales by appointment: Monday Friday: 10h00 – 17h00
- BYO picnic, walks, hikes, MTB and horse-riding
- The floating lapa on the dam is also very popular for tastings, sundowners, swimming, fishing and stargazing.
The Journey’s End Trebuchet
Journey’s End’s magnificent Trebuchet is not to be missed. You’ll battle not to have fun at Journey’s End watching their 42-foot tall, 12-ton medieval siege weapon in action – hurling missiles across the field and providing great excitement and entertainment. 3 140-foot tall Douglas Fir trees were felled at the Dudmaston Estate in Shropshire, UK. The mammoth lumber was then assembled to produce a marvellous Trebuchet. This magnificent machine provided the Gabb family and friends in the UK with so much fun and enjoyment that they decided to disassemble and pack her into a 40ft container and ship her to Journey’s End Vineyards. While the Trebuchet is a grand attraction for visitors, it also provides a huge amount of excitement for the local community of Sir Lowry’s Pass Village and is used to raise funds for Journey’s End’s community projects. Come for a visit and you may even see her in action! Follow the link below for more info and to see the Trebuchet in action!
Journey’s End have been steadily picking up more and more accreditations over the years and have a dedicated compliance officer who manages this side of the business.
- WIETA (Wine and Agricultural Industry Ethical Trade Association) accredited since 2013
- HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) accredited since 2014
- BWI (Biodiversity and Wine Initiative) accredited since 2013, with 15ha dedicated to conservation
- IPW (Integrated Production of Wine) accredited since 2013. IPW is a voluntary environmental sustainability scheme
- Fairtrade accreditation since April 2017 – and now working towards ISO 22000
- IFS (International Featured Standards) accredited since February 2019
Journey’s End Vineyards, Sir Lowry’s Pass Road, Somerset West 7130
Tel: 021 858 1929 · Email: email@example.com
Twitter: @JourneysEndWine · Instagram: @journeysendwines