Michael Olivier's Aristea Advent Calender

Always exciting when a new range of wines appears on the market.  Even more exciting is that the winemaker of the range, Matthew Krone, is an 11th generation winemaker. In recent times, the Krone family have made major contributions to the wine industry. 

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A Taste of Three Worlds in Aristea Wines

In vino veritas, and the truth is that South Africa is a grand and sought-after wine country. From all corners of the globe, individuals and corporates with a shared love of wine and the wine business are jetting in to the winelands to get a stake of the action. They see potential, they goofy-foot an energetic wave of optimism when too many locals remain shrouded in the mists of gloom.

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Caroline Rillema,
Caroline’s Wines,
Cape Town


The Chardonnay is beautifully elegant, poised and clean. The quality of the oak is exceptional and well-managed and nicely integrated into the wine and does not dominate the subtle fruit notes. All-in-all a really fine Chardonnay almost Northern Hemisphere in style.


The Cabernet Sauvignon has loads of red and black summer berries and a hint of spice on the nose and palate. Hints of tobacco also come through on palate, behind the lovely blackcurrant fruit. Supple tannins on the plush fruit core. Very nice oak, once again.



15 December 2017

An even newer kid on the block, Aristea is a project created by Opimian supporter and friend Martin Krajewski from Clos Cantenac in Saint Émilion, together with Matt Krone from the Cape and winemaking consultant Florent Dumeau. 

These are the first Aristea wines ever produced, which I tasted with Martin in June this year. They were subsequently launched to the wine trade and press in London and are already creating quite a stir amongst the critics; deservedly so!


Pale in colour, Aristea Chardonnay is an elegant, refined and complex wine with doughy, bready notes combined with subtle white fruits. I was immediately blown away when I first tasted Aristea in Bordeaux with Martin in June. Re-tasting in September for this cellar offering simply confirmed my first impressions. Soft ripe fruits, peaches, vanilla yoghurt and lemon curd flavours all linger on the palate. Chardonnay grapes were harvested by hand into small lug boxes on January 29th, 2016, and chilled overnight. Half of the fruit was whole-bunch pressed, the other half de-stemmed and pressed. Fermentation in barrel with 40% new oak was followed by malolactic fermentation and a further 11 months aging in oak with regular stirring of the yeast lees.


Dense plum in colour, showing some development around the rim, Aristea Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 has aromas of cooked blackcurrants and smoke with a leafy herbal edge. Warm in character, it has a distinctly leafy Cabernet Sauvignon flavour, which complements the ripe fruits. Soft and rich with good tannin structure, it is a full-bodied wine, concentrated and supple with smooth rounded edges. The Cabernet Sauvignon grapes come from selected parcels of old vines in Stellenbosch. The wine underwent malolactic fermentation in barrel and matured subsequently for 18 months using 33% new, 33% second fill and 33% third fill oak barrels.



Neil Pendock,
Times South Africa

Bottle of the week: Aristea Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Why? Stellenbosch calls itself the Kingdom of Cabernet and when you taste royal wines like this one, you can see they have a point. For it is made by Cape wine royalty in the shape of Matthew Krone of bubbly fame in partnership with Martin Krajewski, a UK investor with vineyards in Pomerol and Saint Émilion and Florent Dumeau, a famous Bordeaux consultant. The Krones have been making the stuff for 12 generations and it shows.

It’s something of a cliche to say the wine tatstes French, but it does.. By which I mean that less is more. No big and booming flavours with jammy overripe notes but rather elegance and understatement. Try a bottle with roast Karoo lamb chops as cooked by Nick Charalambous at Love Thy Neighbour, a Cypriot oasis on Bree Street. Cassis and cinnamon with a whiff of mint pairs remarkably well with the Karoo’s finest.

Most of the wine has been snapped up by the UK market but for those interested in tasting the counter charge to all those hipster Swartland Syrahs, this is a good place to start.

Rating: *****

John & Lynne Ford,

Aristea wines launch in Cape Town

Matthew Krone has been beavering away for the last few years making his own wines. We were invited with other members of the media and the wine industry, to the launch to taste two of them and to meet his partners in this venture called Aristea at Welgemeend Manor House in Gardens, Cape Town.

The partners are Martin Krajewski (wine industry legend from the UK, who also owns vineyards in St Emilion and Pomerol) and Florent Dumeau (renowned Bordeaux winemaker and wine consultant). He told us that they are 'three wine friends' from the UK, France and South Africa, who each already have their own wine brands / wine ventures and many years of accumulated winemaking experience. When he discovered that both partners were going to be in South Africa at the same time, he decided that this was the perfect time to launch two of the wines here.

First the Chardonnay. It is very Burgundian in style, with a little African sun added. Light wood is present but will soften; a subtle nose with a little stone fruit. The wine has a lovely silky mouth feel and flavours of limes, white peaches, butter and toast with a touch of marmalade on the finish. So good to drink.

The Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 has a tight incense wood nose, rather French in style, perfumed with violets, cassis and mulberries. Also soft and silky, rounded with a dash of spice, dark cherries, blackberries, some warmth and then dark salty liquorice. Drinking beautifully now, with good aging potential.

The labels are designed by botanical watercolourist Vicky Thomas. The blue spike of flowers on the labels is the Aristea - a flower that blooms in the Cape and Madagascar only after fire and devastation and for just one day.


Bottle of the Week: Aristea Chardonnay 2016

How much and where? R290;

 Why? To launch a wine called Aristea (a type of Iris) at Welgegund, an old Cape mansion on the slopes of Table Mountain, is bringing it all back home as the plant grows only in the Cape and Madagascar. Rarely has a wine and a plant been so well matched: elegant and delicate with a spindly stretched out form. Etiolated, like a super model, to be served only in the thinest of glasses.

The grapes hail from Stellenbosch, ground zero for quality Chardonnay and the wine was fashioned by Matthew Krone whose family has been making the stuff for 12 generations. Mostly in Tulbagh on the dried-up fatal shores of the Swartland.

So it was a promising start when the launch was interrupted by a clap of thunder and a gust of wind that sent stemware crashing. A summer rainstorm in the midst of the worst drought in living memory.

Of course what’s most likely happening is the Cape is moving away from the Mediterranean model of winter rainfall to more of a tropical reality. So load up on these cool climate beauties while they can still be made.

Fragant flowers on the nose, the palate is creamy chalk with a lingering finish. Just like the succulent west coast oysters doing the cocktail party rounds this season. Matt has two partners in the venture: Bordeaux oenologist Florent Dumeau and UK vinous investor Martin Krajewski who knows his onions so well he sold a Bordeaux property to Jack Ma of Alibaba fame two years ago.

Aristeas pop up after bushfires rip through the hills and fields. A sure sign that nature regenerates and new beginnings follow disasters. A delicate light at the end of the very dark tunnel SA wine finds itself in at the minute.  

Rating: *****


Neil Pendock,
Times south africa


Aristea Chardonnay 2016 Stellenbosch (13%)

An exciting new release from this recently launched venture in Stellenbosch, this was picked early in a hot dry year to retain acidity. Showing subtle, restrained oak, tangy acidity and yeasty complexity, it’s fresh and focused with citrus, orange zest and mineral flavours. Quite a début. Drink 2018-22


Aristea Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 Stellenbosch (14%)

You’d expect a man with two properties in Bordeaux to know how to make Cabernet Sauvignon and in Martin Krajewski’s case you’d be right. This first release is a very impressive idea, showing that the brand has enormous potential. Fine tannins, mint and chocolate notes, stylish oak handling and a twist of vanilla spice. Drink 2018-27





decanter magazine



Aristea Chardonnay 2016

"Waits a heartbeat then kicks in, this is a soft and very lovely Chardonnay that builds in power across the palate without going too far, really attractive with plenty of rich white peach and subtle vanillin character. Barrel fermented in French oak, 40% new of varying sizes up to 500 liter with lees stirring."


Aristea Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

"100% Cabernet Sauvignon, well ripened fruit on the nose and beautifully fleshy plum colour in the glass. This has the fresh aspect of South African Cabernet without straying into green pepper, just a lovely emphasis of vibrant fruit and firm tannins. Needs a few minutes in the glass before the spicy side opens up and the juicy blackcurrant fruit begins to unfurl. Aged in one-third new oak barrels. 14% abv, well in balance. This is an enjoyable wine with a clear personality."





Aristea Chardonnay 2016 

"Medium yellow in colour, vanilla, oaky and tropical fruits, spicy and complex with a mellow soft attack. Broad and layered texture, fruit and more vanilla, elegant, great balance with long spicy finish, completely integrated."

Aristea Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

"Intense dense plum colour, restrained, mulberry, some smoke, herbal with a soft attack of floral, lavender, fresh berry fruits, forest fruits and plums. A soft palate structure with good acidity and supple fruit with good grip on finish, potential to mature and will benefit and mellow with some more time in bottle."




2016 Aristea Chardonnay

"The inaugural release from this fascinating new project is bold, mineral-soaked, stony and firm on the palate with an attacking nose and a strident lime-themed palate.  The oak is fairly intense with delicious butterscotch and nougat touches.  Richer and fuller than expected for the declared 13% alc. this is a classically assembled wine that has a severe, acid-driven tone underpinning and balancing the lushness of fruit." 

2015 Aristea Cabernet Sauvignon

"This is a very well-judged wine with more of a nod to the Old World than that of the New. Genuinely refreshing acidity and crunchy spice and earth notes for the perfect platform for the fruit to perform.  There is a nicely weighted palate with and good degree of calmness surrounding a dark, bloody, cassis centre.  Carefully judged oak completes the picture.  This is a wine that looks more to the Tuscan coast for inspiration than it does to Bordeaux and it achieves this subtlety with balance and aplomb. "






ARISTEA Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

"Deep crimson. Classic leafy aroma of South African Cabernet that often reminds me more of Cabernet Franc on the nose. Cedary too and invitingly herbal and aromatic. That same herbaceous quality on the palate alongside cedar and cassis and a depth that is more suggestive of Cabernet Sauvignon. Very firm but very fine tannins and it is an impressive first vintage with good ageing potential. There's dark chocolate and oak spice on the finish, and just a little bit of alcoholic warmth at the very end. Definitely needs time."


ARISTEA Chardonnay 2016

"Rich and sophisticated on the nose, with a lovely oak and lees character that promises much. The ‘merest’ hint of struck-match reduction works well but does not detract from the fruit. On the palate, plenty of oak spice in evidence but also a satisfying mealy fullness. Full bodied but avoids heaviness and savoury with a long finish. I tasted it again with some aged hard cheese from Sardinia and increased my score from 16.5 to 17 because tasting it with food really made the wine shine. It's a big Chardonnay but neither fat nor overdone."