Situated in the Stellenbosch wine lands of South Africa, Journey’s End is an award-winning, family-owned winery. Founded by the Gabb family in 1996, the company has become renowned for its commitment to sustainable, ethically produced wines, all made in keeping with South Africa’s stringent traceability measures.
Journey’s End also set up a foundation to help those in need last summer, primarily as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Journey’s End Foundation now funds and provides over 25,000 meals per week through a network of soup kitchens in the local Sir Lowry’s Pass village. To date, the Foundation has provided over 1 million meals since its launch and has been recognised for its work by The Drinks Business Green Awards as The Ethical Company of the Year for the past two years, as well as winning a Water Management Award. The winery is also Fairtrade certified, solar powered, and carbon negative, having been named a WWF Conservation Champion for its ongoing commitment to conserving native flora, fauna, and ecosystems.
As for the wines produced, Journey’s End makes use of its terroir and microclimate, as the most southerly estate in the wider Stellenbosch wine region. Vines are planted on the Schapenberg hills, growing in 350 million-year-old decomposed granite soils. Moreover, the vineyards also benefit from a south-easterly wind known as the ‘Cape Doctor’, which contributes to the flavour of the grapes.
Once harvested, the grapes are made into wine by winemakers Leon Esterhuizen and Mike Dawson, using progressive methods. These include a minimal intervention philosophy, carbonic maceration, and fermentation and ageing in amphorae and concrete eggs, adding a complex layer to classically elegant wines. The wines produced are then divided into three core ranges: Tales, V, and Precision.
From the Precision range, Destination Chardonnay is specifically barrel selected after exceptional harvests and is naturally fermented with no yeast inoculants. The Journey’s End Destination Chardonnay is also picked in two segments: morning sun side section, which gives more minerality, freshness, and citrus character; and afternoon sun side section, which adds more stone fruit notes and a rounder style.
On the nose, the Journey’s End Destination Chardonnay 2018 vintage has prominent aromas of peach, apricot and butter, and it’s rich and full-bodied on the palate while remaining elegant. Zesty citrus notes of lime and orange join tropical fruit savours of passion fruit, plus apple, honey, almond and some vanilla oak notes which linger on the long, creamy finish.
Discussing the Journey’s End Destination Chardonnay, winemaker Mike Dawson told The London Economic: “Chardonnay is a very special cultivar to work with as it can be made in such a diverse range of styles when using different winemaking techniques. The Destination Chardonnay is the pinnacle of our white winemaking at Journey’s End.
“The block is picked in two stages with morning and afternoon sun sides of the vineyard row giving completely different fruit profiles adding complexity to the eventual blend. The Destination is naturally fermented in French oak barrels and then left to mature on the fine lees for 10 months in 30 per cent first fill and 70 per cent second fill 228L French oak barrels with frequent battonage. The result is a full bodied Chardonnay with excellent expression of citrus, stone fruit, minerality and salinity, a wine that requires very little winemaking manipulation and exhibits the true identity of our vineyard.”
Further information on Journey’s End can be found here. Journey’s End Destination Chardonnay is available in the UK from retailers such as Bibendum Wines, Tanners Wines, and Noble Green Wines.