INTELLEGO WINES

Swartland

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Intellego Wines started off in 2009 as funds from winemaker/founder, Jurgen Gouws' Russian harvest trip as well as selling second hand barrels getting the project of its feet. Intellego translates “to understand” in Latin and is aptly named as Jurgen is just beginning to understand more than the potential of this incredible region. Gouws is one of Swartland’s young guns, a laidback guy with a surfer’s tan and a wry smile. He currently owns no vineyards and no cellar of his own, but developed his own brand Intellego while working at Lammershoek with Craig 'El Bandito' Hawkins. His wall of old barrels in the rented space at Annexkloof bears the names of favorite musicians, DJs… and women. 

Jurgen notes that “Craig was one of the first to start making fresher wines, from around 2010”, as he explains that fashion rather than “terroir” is to blame for the alcohol and oak bombs of old. He’s not a fan of what he terms “the Robert Parker way” – serious extraction, new oak and over-ripe fruit. This style became popular post-1994, leading to “hugely endowed”, soft, early-maturing wines that have not always held up well in middle age.

Gouws has a range of techniques up his sleeve to achieve these styles – his preference is for bush vine Chenin (“There’s no competition with trellised vines – The fruit intensity is really exciting”), and a strict adherence to organic farming without irrigation. Whole bunch fermentation is key to preserving freshness during vinification, especially for red grapes. 
 
Intellego doesn’t exist in a vacuum – Jurgen is part of a new wave of Cape winemakers all moving in a similar direction. Common themes are organic or biodynamic farming, minimal intervention in the cellar, and the desire to make pure, thirst-quenching wines that aren’t screaming for trophies or 100 point ratings.

The grapes are sourced from different sites and he works closely with the farmers ensuring the fruit is expressive of this region. Jurgen has a particular affinity for some of the older Chenin Blanc bush vines in South Africa and not afraid to push the boundaries of texture. 

Intellego’s true passion is the real work that happens in the vineyard with a hands-on approach, understanding seasonal influences and adjusting based on constant observation of the terroir. A big aim is to create optimum soil conditions through organic practices where the vines will be nurtured for an indefinite period of time, creating conditions for each block to have their own individual character. He and his farmers grow grapes in an environment that is beneficial to the plant and its roots in a Mediterranean like climate.

“As humans we strive towards an ideal life in order to fulfil our destiny and our everyday life is part of this exciting process.  We are very fortunate to be part of this cycle through our work in vineyards and its continuity in the cellar. The final product in bottle is a true celebration of what happens in the vineyard.” – Jurgen Gouws

 

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