Tordoffs were on a well-deserved family holiday, it had been a busy year. We all decided that we would like to explore South Africa, a place that was on each of our bucket lists. We chose to travel along the famous Garden Route. South Africa did not disappoint. The safari was incredible and the golden evening light even better.
Whenever we go away, I enjoy putting my feet up and spending time with my family, but vineyards have a way of attracting me to them like a bee to a flower’s pollen. This trip was no different. We were on an evening walk through Franschhoek, enjoying its sprawling views. When we came across a sign; Dieu Donné Vineyard. This truly was a chance discovery. I had known about the vineyard for years, but due to its distance, I had never managed to visit.
Dieu Donné vineyard was acquired by the French-Mauritian, Robert Maingard in 1987.
Mr. Robert Maingard was in search of his French roots in South Africa and discovered Dieu Donné in Franschhoek. “Dieu Donné” literally means “A Gift from God” or “God Given”. The spectacular mountain views from Dieu Donné endorses this translation.
I could not believe that by chance a wine I had heard so much about, respected and admired had presented itself to me. I booked a tour and tasting for the next day. We had a fantastic day. The wine was even more special than I had remembered and we learned why. Dieu Donné is situated high on the steep south-west facing slopes of the Franschhoek Mountains, which tempers the sun, ensuring slow ripening of the grapes. Thanks to the cool summer conditions and unique soil strata of Hutton and Clovelly soils from weathered granite, the grapes do not show excessive vigour and so they do not overproduce. These exceptional conditions give Dieu Donné wines their special character.
What sealed the need for Tordoffs to partner with Dieu Donné was the family connection. After the tasting, we had the pleasure to meet Hennie du Toit. He is a man that knows the land like no other. He was born on the estate and when he was thirteen years old the estate was sold. Little did he know he would return to his land as a farm manager, what better person is there to ensure the best wine possible is produced from the land.
After the tour, I was touched by the passion of this beautiful vineyard and the simple production that leads to complex wines. Tordoff simply had to strike a partnership, so Europe could enjoy it also. From easy light refreshingly fruity white wines through to the most elegant powerful full-bodied reds that float on the palate like silk and warm the stomach like a fine port or cognac. Dieu Donné lives up to the name “Gift From God” it is also a wine that is improving year on year. I formally introduced myself and Tordoffs at the end of the day and we happily became Dieu Donné’s UK and Europe’s wine importer, and are proud to still be so since 2015. I always recommend their sparkling, a drink for any occasion. It never fails to bring a smile to anyone’s face.