Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The High Road Director’s Reserve – a classic Bordeaux-style red with Stellenbosch flair

Issued by: GC Communications On behalf of: The High Road, 7D Lower Dorp Street, Bosman’s Crossing, Stellenbosch

The High Road, the petite boutique winery located in the vibrant Bosman’s Crossing precinct of Stellenbosch,has been producing elegant Bordeaux-style blends for more than a decade from the finest vineyards in the heart of red wine country.

Founded in 2003 by owners Les Sweidan and Mike Church, both insurance industry kingpins with a passion for wine, The High Road has made major strides with its acclaimed Bordeaux-style reds from the finest Stellenbosch vineyard sites.

Working as a team with experienced winemaker Mark Carmichael-Green and viticulturist Paul Wallace, The High Road is driven by the overriding commitment to produce a truly South African wine with the elegance, intrinsic depth and uniqueness of the classic Bordeaux red at its core.

“Walking the road less travelled” captures Mark’s 11 vintages as winemaker for The High Road where the winemaking philosophy is rooted in a solid commitment to quality and integrity evident in the fastidious selection of vineyards blocks, grapes and every individual French oak barrel. 

Meticulous attention to detail is tangible in The High Road cellar where every bunch and individual grape is sorted painstakingly by hand and every batch is vinified and barrel matured separately before the final blend is selected.

Defined by its elegance and refinement, the Director’s Reserve, one of two Bordeaux-style blends produced by The High Road, is a fruit forward wine matured in 100% new French oak. The blend differs in style from the more accessible, easier drinking Classique which is exposed to less new wood but still carries The High Road signature of uncompromising quality.

The current 2010 The High Road Director’s Reserve garnered a 2013 Veritas Double Gold medal, the second Veritas Double Gold in four years for this boutique cellar. The Classique with its signature soft, elegant tannins, has also had its share of prestigious accolades culminating in the 2014 Taj Classic Wine Trophy. 

Crafted from four of the five major Bordeaux varieties, the Cabernet Sauvignon driven 2010 Director’s Reserve has been tweaked somewhat from earlier vintages with the addition of a small component of Petit Verdot for the first time. The wine, comprising Cabernet Sauvignon (69%), Merlot (19%), Cabernet Franc (8%) and Petit Verdot (4%), shows great complexity layered with cassis and blueberry fruit, vanilla oak and chocolate nuances supported by a backbone of rich, ripe tannins.

“We are very pleased with the way the Petit Verdot bridges the three main varieties allowing each to contribute its own intrinsic value but being able to step back so that others can have centre stage, thereby making the sum of the parts a greater whole,” says Mark who believes the art of making great wines is to find the best possible sites for the grape variety concerned and then to exploit the science of it.

“We have always chosen grapes from the Helderberg slopes based on terroir and the history of successful winemaking with the red varieties we use and we have been blessed to have found blocks which have taken us to the next level,” he adds. 

The Director’s Reserve sells for around R250 per bottle. Wine lovers who join The High Road Wine Club benefit from a 20% discount on all wine purchases. Following the time honoured model of small Bordeaux producers in France, The High Road prefers to sell its wines directly to consumers through its wine club as well as selected specialist wine shops, restaurants and special interest groups. All it takes to join is the commitment to buy a minimum of 24 bottles of The High Road wine annually. Orders of 12 bottles or more will be delivered to your door free of charge. All members qualify for VIP invitations to sample new releases in Johannesburg and Cape Town, complimentary tastings at the cellar in Stellenbosch, as well as preferential access to limited release, older vintages and exclusive collections. For further information visit or email

Daily tastings at The High Road cellar in Lower Dorp Street, Bosman’s Crossing, in Stellenbosch are by appointment only. Call Tel: 0760445020.