Born out of a passion for Mediterranean varieties and old-vine fruit, Momento is a solo project from dynamic winemaker Marelise Niemann. Marelise earned her stripes as the winemaker at Beaumont Family Wines from 2007 to 2014, sharing cellar space with Crystallum’s Peter-Allan Finlayson and Thorne & Daughters’ John Thorne-Seccombe. She has also worked in California, Rhône, Burgundy and Portugal. Her fascination with Grenache was sparked while in Priorat in 2010 where, together with winemaker Eben Sadie, she was impressed by the fresh, vibrant fruit produced by the old vines. On her return to South Africa, she began seeking out parcels of old-vine Grenache to make her own elegant and soulful wines.
Marelise champions varieties which flourish in South Africa’s warm, dry climate and truly express their origins. The fruit is sourced from vineyard parcels in the Swartland and Bot River. The Swartland’s low rainfall, combined with decomposed granite soils, results in wines with richness and depth. In Bot River, the cooling Atlantic influence, coupled with shale and clay soils, contributes to the precise fruit and elegant texture of these wines.
Her winemaking is minimalist, utilising indigenous yeast barrel fermentations, old basket presses, manual punch downs and maturation in old French oak to preserve a profound purity of fruit. The Chenin Blanc/Verdelho combines generous fruit and mouthfeel with Verdelho’s zesty acidity. It has notes of jasmine, lemon rind and wet stone. The Grenache Blanc is cold soaked on skins for three days prior to fermentation, imparting pithy texture and a saline focus which complements the wine’s crisp fruit profile. The Grenache Gris is sourced from the only vineyard of this variety in South Africa. Copper-skinned and planted on decomposed granite and clay, it displays a waxy mouthfeel, exotic fruit and a savoury, herbal edge. The Grenache Noir is grown on decomposed granite soils and produced using 30% whole-bunch fermentation, giving delicate aromas of rose, wild strawberry and fynbos, coupled with racy acidity and a savoury finish. The Tinta Barocca is made in a style akin to premium Pinot Noir. It has a tightly wound core and complex aromas of cherries, cassis and porcini.