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 Marelise’s 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 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. 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. The hand drawn vine on her labels is by artist Hennie Niemann Junior, Marelise’s husband: an old vine with various personal characters worked into it..
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.
“I am setting out above all to tell a story with these wines, about their source and their journey into bottle. Winemaking is an incredibly personal experience and I want the end product to have a strong link to the growers, the soils, the climate; everything that played a role in pulling them together. These days we want to know where our food is coming from and wine is no different; the better the fruit and the better it is cared for, the better the wine in the glass.”