A self-described “pays-san” or “man of the land”, Nico has earned accolades for his impressive abilities at Saxenburg and particularly with cabernet sauvignon and shiraz. He has spent nearly 10 years making shiraz in Stellenbosch and syrah in the south of France. He has been awarded Champion Winemaker and was the first to earn five double-gold medals in one Veritas competition (double gold = judges score 17.5+ unanimously). Still at Saxenburg, Nico also makes wine under his own label.
The experience in France helped Nico to discover the influence of terrior on wine quality. More importantly for Nico, the "pays-san" feeling came flooding back. "I could develop a complete feeling of living the way of the land, to make nice wine, to know what to plant where and how to produce wine in a very natural process." These times for Nico and his family were special. They discovered the language and a way of living that gives meaning to this same expression. Sharing the passion, Nico and his wife Petra travelled France, Italy and Spain in search of 'food for thoughts' about wine.
A dream of their own started to emerge : Nico and Petra wanted to have a wine of their own - and vineyards too! Luck shined on Nico as it has so often. The owners of Saxenburg agreed to let Nico make wines under his own label at Saxenburg, while still making their wines in South Africa and France. Since 1999, Nico has been building his own labels and making a style of wine that he knows will reflect the character of the fruit from their own vineyards in Stellenbosch and eventually Bot River (Walker Bay). With all of Nico's experience, he is ready to discover the terroir of his new vineyards and, as he modestly says "to produce some nice wine."
click on labels to enlarge.
ROBERT ALEXANDER SHIRAZ
Smoke and mocha mingle on the nose as dark fruits
fill out this medium body wine. The black cherry and strawberry fruit
notes are somewhat sweeter than previous vintages, which bodes well for
the harmony of this wine. - particularly as the savoury elements circle
through. Retaining its firm structure, the body fills out with a creamy
texture and a cleansing round of acidity that leads to a dry finish.
Some initial herb notes disappear after opening (must
be a genie), leaving mocha, mineral tones and fruit aromas. The blue
fruits charge forth on entry in a crisp, clean style with good savory
acidity and (wait for it, the genie returns) fine herbed spices in the
50% shiraz, 40% cinsault, 10% grenache Lively,
candied apple aromas dusted with white pepper. The flavors opened to
sweet ripe red fruits and a drawer of spices. A very friendly,
accessible wine that keeps its integrity with a balanced structure. Only
the shiraz saw some time in barrels.
Cape Elements fact sheet (pdf)
Cape Elements shelf talker (pdf)
MAS NICOLAS 2001
52% Shiraz - 48% Cabernet Sauvignon
Rich black fruits and an English drawing room of cedar, leather and cigars. This is a BIG wine, with bold flavors of blackberry and cassis with fine, soft tannins. This signature wine is very dense, combining the lively fruits with a warm meaty richness.