Patatsfontein is a South African winemaking partnership between Reneen Borman of Boschkloof and college friends Henke Kotze and Fritz Schoon. The story goes that Schoon’s father-in-law traded his flooring business to purchase a 1,200-hectare property in Montagu, which was planted to various white grapes including Colombard and Chenin Blanc (known colloquially as Steen). Schoon’s friend, Chris “Butch” Alheit visited the vineyard one day, and, inspired by what he saw, convinced Schoon that their fruit was too good to be sold off to the local co-op. Alheit introduced Schoon to Reneen Borman, and the Patatsfontein label was established.
Today, Patatsfontein is known for its Steen, Colombard, and Syrah wines, which have risen the ranks of the greats in South Africa in a very short time. Wine writer Christian Eedes has called the Steen “crackerjack stuff.” Beyond skilled winemaking, the well-chosen vineyard sites are to thank for that praise. The white wines are grown at 2,000 feet in Montagu, a rugged and remote area known for its unique slate soils. These cool-climate whites are beautifully raw, with bracing acidity and finesse. Patatsfontein’s Syrah is grown in the Polkadraai Hills of Stellenbosch. This area gets long sunshine hours, balanced by cool ocean gusts, which renders a Syrah with concentration and explosivity.
Like his winemaking style at Boschkloof, Borman takes a hands-off approach in the cellar. Only native yeasts are used to ferment the wines, and aging is carried out in either neutral French barrels or small cement eggs. With its rise to understated success in just a handful of years, Patatsfontein is poised to be written into South Africa’s wine history books as one of the timeless classics. To be a classic is in their nature, after all; the trio chose their legal business name to be none other than “Ron Burgundy Wines.” You could say they’re kind of a big deal 😉