The Beaumont family estate is steeped in a history that dates back to the 18th century, and their higgledy-piggledy cellars are the oldest in the region. The family-run farm and winery can be found in the charming Overberg village of Bot River, at the foot of the Houw Hoek Mountains in the cool Cape South Coast region.
The Beaumont family are big on biodiversity. Of their 400-hectare farm, only 34 hectares are under vine; the rest is part of the Green Mountain Conservancy Area, an organisation the Beaumont family helped to found. There are charming cottages on site and regular events are held, from food festivals and open gardens weekends to grape treading at harvest time.
Beaumont wines began in 1970, when Raoul and Jayne Beaumont replanted vineyards that had long since been abandoned in the ancient shale soils. The pair recognised that summer heat here is moderated by cool afternoon sea breezes, which gives ideal long ripening periods. Raoul and Jayne also transformed the winery, with its antique machinery, into a place where they could start producing handcrafted, expressive wines that reflect the terroir.
Today, Jayne’s son Sebastian makes the wine. The family’s everyday chenin blanc is made partly from bought-in fruit from neighbouring vineyards, but all the grapes are picked early to preserve freshness and result in lower alcohol. After a cool and slow fermentation, the wine spends around six months on its lees in tanks.
The estate was also the first in the Cape to bottle a varietal mourvèdre, a grape that ripens more slowly and with more balance here, thanks to the cooler temperatures. It spends 18 months in large French oak barrels to enhance its dark, spicy flavour.
The family’s flagship wine is the Hope Marguerite Chenin Blanc. Named after Sebastian’s grandmother, it was first produced in 1997. It is made entirely from hand-picked grapes grown on the estate’s oldest vineyard, planted in 1978, giving low yields of complex and elegant chenin. The wine spends 10 months on its lees, promoting a richer and fuller palate, and is aged in French oak. The wood is meticulously selected to ensure the perfect balance between fruit and oak influence. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this is regularly a five-star wine in Platter’s guide to South African wines.
The Beaumont family crest reads ‘Erectus non Elatus’ – which means ‘proud but not arrogant’ – and this approach carries through to everything they do.