The wines of Bosman, Wellington and Hemel-en-Aarde, South Africa


Wellington-based producer Bosman have quietly become one of the most interesting of all South African producers. They don’t just focus on fine wine, but span multiple segments. They also have a thriving nursery business, and have introduced some new varieties into South Africa, such as Nero d’Avola. In 2000, they purchased another farm in Upper Hemel-en-Aarde. And the work they have done with social responsibility is deeply impressive.

There have been eight generations of Bosmans farming here. They bought their farm in Groenfontein in 1810, and made wine here until 1957 when they focused on their nursery business (Bosman Adama). It was 50 years later, in 2007, when Petrus Bosman resumed winemaking here, alongside the thriving nursery business. In 2009, 260 permanently employed workers received a 26% stake in the business, which is still the largest land reform transaction in the history of the South African wine industry. Bosman have been FairTrade accredited since 2009.

Corlea Fourie, Bosman winemaker

I tasted these wines with winemaker Corlea Fourie, who is doing some really good work here. I’ve also added some other recent notes. UK agent for most of these wines is Woodwinters, But Indigo represent Chasing Rabbits.


Bosman Method Ancestrale Chenin Blanc 2022 Hemel-en-Aarde, South Africa
This pet nat is quite lovely. It’s golden in colour, and ripe, powerful and weighty with textured peach and pear fruit. Some apple, and some lemony weight. There’s fun but also a touch of complexity. 92/100

Bosman Chenin Blanc 2021 Wellington, South Africa
Textured with nice pear and citrus fruit, as well as a hint of apple. Nice balance and weight here. 89/100

Bosman Sauvignon Blanc 2022 Upper Hemel-en-Arde, South Africa
3% Semillon in the blend of this convincing Sauvignon. Lovely balance here with fine texture to the citrus and pear fruit with a rounded character and plenty of weight. This is a serious expression of Sauvignon. 93/100

Bosman Optenhorst Chenin Blanc 2019 Wellington, South Africa
12% alcohol. This comes from an old bush vine vineyard planted in 1952 of just 3255 vines. Fermented in older barrels. It has a wonderful nose of fine toast, spice, pear and peach, with some crystalline citrus fruits. The palate is broad but really nicely balanced with a toasty underpinning to the ripe citrus and pear fruit. There’s a crystalline quality to the ripe fruit that’s really attractive. A special wine from a special vineyard. 94/100

Bosman Optenhorst Chenin Blanc 2021 Wellington, South Africa
Textured and finely spiced with some nutty notes, a hint of pear and honey, and some nice apple and peach fruit. Great concentration and fine texture here. 93/100

Bisman Fides Grenache Blanc 2019 Wellington, South Africa
There’s a hint of mint on the nose, and then in the mouth there’s structure under the sweet pear and peach fruit. There’s also sone stony character here. Nice weight and balance. 92/100

Bosman Adama 2020 Wellington, South Africa
13% alcohol. This is a blend of Chenin Blanc from 42 year old vines, given 5 days skin contact, and Grenache Blanc, from granitic soils. It has lovely aromatics of mandarin, melon and ripe pear with some lemony brightness. The palate is textured and full-flavoured with some pear and peach generosity but also some nice freshness, and a touch of orange peel and lime on the finish. Full flavoured, but so fresh and balanced, this is remarkable value for money. There’s just a little bit of structure, too. 93/100

Bosman Pinot Noir 2021 Upper Hemel-en-Aarde, South Africa
13% alcohol. This is juicy and fresh with some tart raspberry and sour cherry fruit as well as a hint of pepper. It has some elegance as well as some tannic structure. Bright and focused, this is a really appealing mid-weight Pinot Noir. 91/100

Bosman Twyfeling Cinsault 2020 Wellington, South Africa
Textured with nice strawberry and raspberry fruit, as well as hints of woodspice. Nicely structured, but it doesn’t get in the way of the wine’s drinkability. Finishes warm and spicy. 92/100

Bosman Grenache Noir 2021 Wellington, South Africa
Savoury-edged cherry and raspberry fruit with a stony note and some citrus brightness. A lighter-styled red that’s bright and focused, and very drinkable. 90/100

Bosman Efrenis 2018 Wellington, South Africa
Efrenis means legacy in Afrikaans, and this is a blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon with Cinsualt and Nero d’Avola, representing the past, present and future of wine here. Elegant and concentrated with lovely depth to the black and red fruits, with fine spices and nice structure. This is ageworthy. 93/100

Bosman Dolce Primitivo 2017 Western Cape, South Africa
This is brown/gold in colour with a bricking rim. Concentrated with intense, spicy, savoury notes as well as lots of sweetness. A beautifully nuanced sweet wine, with good acidity providing balance. 93/100

Bosman Nature & Sun Organic Grenache Noir 2020 Wellington, South Africa
13.5% alcohol. From organically farmed bush vines, this is a lighter coloured Grenache with some bricking on the rim. Lovely aromatics of red cherries, cranberries, some spice and a hint of tea and iodine. The palate shows lovely sappy red berry fruits with amazing elegance: there’s a silky richness to the cherry and strawberry fruit on the mid-palate, and then fine spices kick in on the finish. Such purity and drinkability. It’s really elegant in style, but there’s a bit of substance, too. Very exciting to see this on a supermarket shelf. 92/100

Bosman Family Vineyards Chasing Rabbits Organic Grenache 2020 Wellington, South Africa
13.5% alcohol. From bush vine Grenache planted in decomposed granite soils in 2016, the grapes are destemmed and then macerated for three days before pressing to stainless steel for maturation. The result is a wonderful light-coloured red wine, that almost fringes on being a rosé. But it is very definitely a lighter red with juicy cherry and plum fruit, some grainy, stony structure and an appealing minerality, as well as touches of dried herbs, pepper and fennel. Really pretty and expressive with good acidity and a bit of crunch to the red fruit characters. This has drinkability but also a hint of seriousness, and it’s an extremely versatile gastronomic wine, especially when chilled down a little. It’s so refreshing to see wines like these come from South Africa: the low extraction means it resembles the Palhetes of Portugal, which are gaining fans at the moment. 93/100

Bosman Nero 2019 Wellington, South Africa
13% alcohol. South Africa’s first Nero d’Avola. The wine is a collaboration with actor/filmmaker Thapelo Mokoena, who is a shareholder in the project, and it’s called Nero. Bosman wanted to find grape varieties well suited to the warm, dry climate of the Cape wine lands as a sort of insurance policy against climate change. Owner and managing director Petrus Bosman travelled to Sicily in 2004, and identified Nero d’Avola as a target. He brought back cuttings, and these were grown in the Bosman nursery. This is the debut vintage, and the wine was give a short 5 day maceration. The result is impressive, suggesting that this is a variety with a bright future in the Cape. This is fresh, supple and juicy. It’s a lighter-coloured red wine with some sweet red cherries and strawberries, as well as some fine herby notes, and a rounded mid-palate with silky texture. Hugely drinkable and enjoyable, if not terribly complex. I love the sensitivity of the winemaking here: it’s quite Grenache-like. 89/100