“Youthful Brilliance” said Tim Atkin in his 2016 Special Report on South African Wine.
He was referring to the “youthful brilliance” of winemaker, Reenen Borman, from Boschkloof Wines. Their 2014 Epilogue Syrah having been rated the best overall Red Wine of the Year with an unprecedented score of 98/100. “It sets a new benchmark for Syrah, combining the experience of Jacques Borman with the youthful brilliance of his son, Reenen…a stunning achievement.” High praise for a young South African winemaker, and yet Reenen shows no sign of letting up. His joint venture Patasfontein, Chenin Blanc from Montagu, goes from strength to strength. While he is constantly innovating as evidenced by the recent release of Kottabos (apparently an ancient Greek drinking game we’d like to get the instructions to), a Grenache-Syrah from Stellenbosch’s Polkadraai area; and the Patatsblanc, a Colombard-Chenin Blanc blend from the Patatsfontein property.
Boschkloof Wines, their family business, remains his primary focus, to great success. If the previous vintage was anything to go by, we’re convinced that this latest 2015 release of the Epilogue will not disappoint. As such we’re fortunate to be able to offer you a limited vertical of both the Syrah and the Conclusion Bordeaux Blend, both of which are sure to be a notable addition to any cellar.
In an effort to get to know the man, we’ve employed something old, something inevitably French: a Proust Questionnaire. Made famous by the 20th Century French Writer, Marcel Proust’s, well-documented honesty.The questionnaire takes on the form of an interview and was used as a parlour game in 19th Century France for dinner party guests to get acquainted; today you’d be better off launching an extensive google background check as most people would shy away from this particular brand of honesty. Keith Richards famously replying to the question on his current state of mind: “Are you crazy?” Reenen’s honesty by comparison lit a fire in the darkness and sheds light on the success he now enjoys.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
For me perfect happiness is to be in a state of mind where you realise how privileged you are, appreciating what and who you have in your life, but also having the drive and ambition to try and achieve other goals and milestones.
What is your greatest fear?
Any high places. And usually to speak English in front of big crowds.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
Definitely my wife Marli and then wine as well. That’s the two things that demand most of my time. Luckily for me wine is my passion and although it’s the sole source of my income it never feels like work. This is a great blessing.
When and where are you happiest?
I’m happiest when I see people enjoy the wine I make. Over the last decade or two most winemakers sole mission has been to achieve accolades and points for their wines. After travelling and working in European countries where wine is part of their daily lives and culture, I started to realise that awards should never be the goal as a winemaker. If I believe in what I make and make a product for people to enjoy and for them to relate to our farm, vineyards and family business the awards will come by itself. Seeing people at a dinner table in a restaurant having Boschkloof whilst laughing and having a good time is what it is about.
Which talent would you most like to have?
I would definitely like to speak a few more languages. I have always believed that travelling and building memories are the only expense that makes one richer. Being able to speak foreign languages will make this belief so much more valuable.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Regarding wine it would be getting 98 points from Tim Atkin for our 2014 Epilogue Syrah, as well as making a Chenin Blanc called Patatsfontein, from a unknown area for fine wine, and receiving 5 stars in the Platter guide last year.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
I would come back as my parents' Boerboel. He has a unbelievable life on the farm, my mother even cooks chicken and rice for him every day. Spoiled rotten.
Where would you most like to live?
I would always only want to live in South Africa. Our lives are extremely rich with the beautiful landscapes, coastal areas, diverse cultures and not to forget wines. The biggest thing is to try and not get used to it, to keep pinching ourselves and remind us how fortunate we are.
Who are your heroes in real life?
Number one hero would be my father. He created the opportunity for me to do what I love and to let me find my own approach to winemaking. I have had it a bit easier than most winemakers especially having such a great mentor on my doorstep, willing to give advice whenever I need it.