In Greek mythology, Atlas sided with the Titans when they fought the Olympians during the Titanomachy, a series of battles between these two generations that lasted for 10 years. When the Titans were defeated, many of them were confined to Tartarus, a deep abyss used as a dungeon of torment and as a prison for the Titans.
Zeus, the leader of the Olympians and the god of thunder and the sky, however condemned Atlas to stand at the western edge of the Earth and hold up the sky on his shoulders for eternity.A common misconception today is that Atlas was forced to hold the Earth on his shoulders, but classical art shows Atlas holding the celestial spheres, not the terrestrial globe. This was reinforced in the 16th century by the developing usage of “atlas” to describe a corpus of terrestrial maps.For us, the use of the word Atlas is an ode to the Titan of perseverance. We too see ourselves entrusted with the responsibility on our shoulders to protect the character of the land in which our grapes grow, one we accept with glee. Atlas is also a reference to the different terrestrial maps, or terroirs, where our vineyards grow.
Swifts are part of a highly aerial family of birds called Apodidae and are among the fastest birds in the world. Our wine journey could be compared to that of a swift – while we might not always move at the speed of light (making good wine requires patience) we are constantly on the wing, exploring the many atlases of the Cape Winelands and its diverse terroirs.
ATLAS SWIFT = our responsibility to persevere, be agile and nimble, affording us the opportunity to make wines from numerous environments. Our winemaking prowess has always revolved around two grape varieties – Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.
In 2019, our dreams became reality when the maiden vintage of Atlas Swift was born. All our wines are vinified in the same fashion, the only difference being the origin of the grapes, and are produced in very limited quantities due to the restrictions of their provenance.
Our Vineyard Sites
ATLAS SWIFT RANGE
Our “formal” range consists of five Chardonnays, each exploring five different origins in the Western Cape. We are self-confessed wine nerds, and with these wines we like to showcase our inner-geeky side! The Chardonnay grape is neutral in character but develops a unique identity when exposed to the influences of terroir, the use of oak and different winemaking techniques.The female warrior on each label represents her territory. She is feisty in portraying the unique characteristics of the respective terroirs and the resulting wine. It is this energy, radiating from each area, that we want to bring to life in each glass!
Cape South Coast Chardonnay
Originating from the Onder-Duiwenhoksriver region situated about 50 minutes drive east of Witsand - only 8km from the ocean and 100m above sea level. The persistent coastal breezes help to temper the climate, while the common occurrence of fog during the growing season acts as a welcome natural air-conditioner. The chalk and limestone-rich soil is high in sodium and potassium, lending an element of minerality to the wine, which ends with a saline, oyster-shell finish.Tasting NotesShop
Wine of Origin Cederberg Chardonnay
Located 250km north of Franschhoek in the Cederberg mountains, an area renowned for being South Africa’s highest vineyard location, with plantings ranging between 950m – 1100m above sea level. The soils are made up of a mixture of sandstone and Ferricrete. The high altitude and constant aeration create a cool Mediterranean climate with zero influence from the ocean and result in wines with a high level of natural acidity, poise, and incredible length.
Situated 160km to the east of Cape Town in the Breede River Valley region. The dry, medium hot climate of the area is optimal to produce premium grapes. The high diurnal temperature, i.e., the difference between the daily maximum and minimum temperature, aids in cooling the grapes down sufficiently at night and facilitates a homogenous dormancy periodduring the cold winter months. Immersed in limestone-rich soils, the vineyards add a chalky minerality and a flinty finish to the wine, reminiscent of the great Chardonnays of Chablis in France.Tasting NotesShop
Sourced from vineyards rooted in a combination of Glenrosa, and weathered schist and shale soils, some 70km east of Cape Town and overlooking the Swartland region. All the vineyards are farmed “dry land”, referring to the fact that they rely purely on precipitation from above, without the aid of supplemental irrigation. These harsh conditions yield grapes with intense aroma- and flavour profiles, akin to those of Burgundy despite Wellington’s climate being warmer than France.
Franschhoek is a broad vineyard-lined valley situated 80 km’s west of Cape Town, and is nestled within mountain ranges that borders on three sides. It has a warm, continental climate, ideally suited to the production of heavy, robust red wines and rich, fruit-driven white wines. The mountains trap cold southerly breezes, extending the growing season and imparting complex aromas in the grapes. Soils are largely made up of alluvial sandstone, although there are deposits of granite on the slopes of the mountains in the north. Some irrigation is needed since lower slope sandy soils drain quickly.Tasting NotesShop
Our “informal” range recently expanded and now consists of four wines. No longer is the focus only on blending different components to create wines fit for everyday consumption, but also on exploring the identities of single-vineyard wines and single varietals. We can’t be wine nerds all the time, and this is where we let our hair down and have fun with the winemaking process until we find the perfect result. These wines are inspired by the five different terroirs of the Atlas Swift range, which can be seen as five pillars of strength to accommodate a haven, a shelter of sorts. They are moulded by a unison between self and soil, and will always aim to include origins within the Western Cape.