Hathersage lies along the foothills of the Schapenberg in the Helderberg valley. Professor Roworth originally named Hathersage after his ancestral village in England and its iconic St. Michaels Church, depicted on the Hathersage label, serves as an inspiration for the nature and quality of its wines. Developed by Stephan Holdings, the farm has a rich history dating to Governor Willem Adriaan van der Stel. As Dr Harry Stephan opines, “The family business has been sinking roots into the soil of the Cape for 200 years. We now feel that we have reached a stage where we are ready to produce grapes of rare distinction.”If we analyze the terroir at Hathersage, the congruence between its soils and soft maritime climate is much akin to Bordeaux, which develops elegant wines of great complexity. In fact if we examine Bordeaux more carefully, we could argue that Hathersage would correspond more closely to the Medoc as this district in Bordeaux is somewhat cooler than St Emilion, which includes the Pomerol. Thus at Hathersage we would expect to find a singular elegance in the wines, especially if we examine the flavours and typicity of its Cabernet Sauvignon.
Much has been written on the meaning of terroir. In essence, terroir signifies the unity between soil, a corresponding climate that is suitable for the varieties that are introduced to this particular soil, and the way the vines are managed and cared for by the viticulturalist and his staff. Many enthusiasts will debate on the primacy of any one of these elements. Certainly the French are fixed on the nature of their soils, and the Californians tend to laud climate to glorify their varietal wines. At Hathersage, the focus is on the balance between soil and climate and varieties are planted with this idea uppermost in mind. Much like Bordeaux, Hathersage is split into distinct soil types. The key element has been to understand which variety will be best suited to each soil type and its corresponding relationship to air flows that determine day-time and night-time temperatures in the vineyards. The results are in. Hathersage wines are already showing a clear indication of its terroir.