Glen Carlou winemaker Arco Laarman is celebrating 20 years in the wine industry with the launch of a range of small-batch wines, Glen Carlou Curator's Collection.
Modestly priced, and available only from the Swiss-owned winery's cellardoor and restaurant near Paarl, and via the Glen Carlou Wine Club, the current releases are Chenin Blanc 2013, Malbec 2010 and one of only a handful of solo bottlings in South Africa of tannat, from the 2011 vintage.
The range is evolving depending for example on different varieties and what Laarman finds interesting or something he has an opportunity to explore. “It is a great way for me to experiment, whether it is with different winemaking techniques or access to an interesting parcel of fruit,” he says. Later in the year, a Viognier and a Cabernet Franc will be released. Pricing ranges from R98 for the Chenin Blanc to R175 for the Tannat.
Some of the wines are a production of a little over 500 bottles, the exception being The Curator’s Collection Chenin Blanc which consists of 1500 bottles made from 30-year-old Swartland bushvines and matured in old French oak barrels.
Laarman decided to become a winemaker at the tender age of nine while touring the Cape winelands with his parents. “It was especially the cellar tours, and the way the winemakers explained the magic process that I found irresistible,” he recalls.
So, fresh out of high school, he joined Kaapzicht Estate, where his apprenticeship soon confirmed that he was indeed cut out to be a winemaker. While gaining valuable practical experience, he also enrolled for wine courses such as Wine Management at the Stellenbosch Business School.