Bovlei Mad Hatter’s Collection of Wines

Boveli Cellars held a unique event recently that I attended.

Based on 6 classic hat styles, the cellar has created wines to suit each, using foreign varietals with a view to introducing them to the local market, at supremely affordable prices. I’m talking R39.99 (less than 4 euro!) a bottle.

The Grenache blanc, Mourvedre, Carignan, Babera, Sangiovese and Malbec were paired with unusual combinations of food both savoury and sweet and each attendee seemed to have their own favourite. My personal choices cast favour with the Mourvedre and the Carignan. Pity they don’t come with matching hats, but I suppose at the price one can’t demand the hat and wear it too.

“Keep your hat on, for you are about to be blown away by a new range of wines from Wellington’s Bovlei Cellar.  Mad Hatters’, an irreverently packaged range of six wines each made from a different grape varietal, introduces consumers to lesser-known varietals at competitive prices.

Each wine in the Mad Hatters’ range – all produced at Bovlei Cellar – is linked to a different hat representing the culture and style of the country that has made the relevant grape varietal famous.

The label for the Mad Hatters’ Malbec, for example, displays the Gaucho Hat worn by the Argentinian cowboys in the country inextricably linked to the Malbec grape. The Mad Hatters’ Carignan is complemented by the famous French Beret, while the Sangiovese wine displays the Italian Boater Hat and the Barbera wears a cool-looking Fedora.

The other varieties in the Mad Hatters’ range are Mourvèdre (Spanish Flamenco Hat) and a white blend, Rousanne/Grenache Blanc, represented by the Cloche hat.

According to Herman le Roux, general manager of Bovlei Cellar, the initial goal of the Mad Hatters’ range was to introduce the South African wine lover to wines made from lesser-known varietals that are produced at Bovlei at a consumer-friendly price.

“As the interest in wine has grown over the past decades, local wine enthusiasts will have heard of varieties such as Malbec or Carignan without having had the opportunity to try these wines due to the relative scarcity of these grape varieties in South Africa,” says Le Roux.

“Over the past few years Bovlei has had access to these sought-after varietals all grown in the Wellington region. With the quality of the fruit and our ability to produce wines at competitive prices we decided to develop a new lifestyle range using a bit of fun and irreverence in the packaging to underscore the wines’ originality and uniqueness, and to complement each wine’s personality with a different hat with which consumers could identify.

“To remain apart from the clutter in today’s marketplace, you must really keep your hat on!”  he says.

According to Frank Meaker, cellar master at Bovlei Cellar, each wine in the Mad Hatters’ range does justice to the respective grape varietal and is set to open a New World wine experience to the consumer.

“All the varietals in the range are sun loving and warm hearted, and have adapted extremely well to the conditions of Wellington,” he says. “Grapes like Carignan, Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Mourvèdre, Malbec and Sangiovese achieve optimum varietal expression in this region, enabling Bovlei to make a uniquely structured wine from each grape with a flavour profile that is excitingly different from the more common varietals South African consumers have become used to.”

Meaker says the winemaking process involves minimum intervention to capture each grape’s characteristics.

“The wines in the Mad Hatters’ range are meant for uncomplicated enjoyment, so fruit expression and easy-drinking are of the utmost importance,” he says. “They are fruity, supple wines made for immediate enjoyment as part of a fun-filled lifestyle where wine is a part of people’s daily lives – just like in those countries that have made each grape varietal famous and where each hat is worn.”

The Mad Hatters’ range of six wines is exclusive to Ultra Liquors and will retail at R39.95 per bottle. The wines are also available at Bovlei Cellar’s tasting room where they can be tasted and purchased, either individually or in a selection. ”

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