Momento began in 2013 while Marelise Niemann was winemaker at Beaumont Family Wines in Bot River.
She has since become known for wines of purity, elegance and honesty, working with old vines in both Bot River and the Swartland with a minimal intervention approach putting terroir front and centre.
That first vintage was two barrels of Grenache Noir and her love affair with the grape has deepened; she now works with all three Grenache varieties having added Grenache Blanc to the repertoire in 2019.
Now based at Anysbos farm next door to Gabrielskloof – where she spent four years alongside Crystallum and Thorne & Daughters – Marelise is becoming increasingly known as the champion of the variety.
The Grenaches Noir and Gris have become critically acclaimed and prized examples over the past few vintages, as has the outlier of the range, a Tinta Barocca made in a style akin to high-end Pinot Noir.
Marelise’s fascination with Grenache was stirred by her time in the Priorat region in Spain, where, along with Eben Sadie, she was inspired by how the old vine fruit was produced in such a fresh and vibrant way. She returned to South Africa determined seek out old vine Grenache.
Marelise is passionate about working with grape varieties that are well suited to South Africa’s climate. That means vineyards that can handle low rainfall and high temperatures; that naturally fit in with the environment and don’t need excessive energy input.
Chenin, Verdelho, the Grenaches and Tinta are all cases in point, flourishing as they do in dry, warm conditions. For Marelise, working with grapes that are well adapted to where they are growing, reducing energy and water input and allowing vineyards to thrive naturally is the way forward.
The hand drawn vine on her labels is by artist Hennie Niemann Jnr, Marelise’s husband: an old vine with various personal characters worked into it.