Cabernet may be its trump card, but the origins of Thelema owe more to the wines of Burgundy than Bordeaux: it was a bottle of Puligny-Montrachet that lured Gyles Webb away from accountancy in Durban to winemaking in Stellenbosch. Armed with a winemaking degree and influenced by travels in Tuscany, Bordeaux and California, Gyles and his wife Barbara bought Thelema, an old fruit farm high on the slopes of the Simonsberg mountain, in 1983. This is the wilder side of Stellenbosch, where spotted leopards roam the vines. These days Gyles is Cellar Master, with the talented Schultz brothers (Rudi and Werner) responsible for the winemaking and vineyards respectively. But the philosophy remains true to Gyles’ original vision, centred on the principle of what he calls ‘benign neglect’ – minimal fining and filtration, and no use of commercial yeasts in the red wines.
Pale gold in colour with youthful flashes of lime green, the nose is aromatic with pungent 'green' aromas of bell pepper and fresh crushed herbs. On the palate the wine is medium bodied and dry with a mouthwatering streak of minerals, hints of sub-tropical fruit and a layer of grassy gooseberry flavours that merge sublimely with the limey, crisp finish. Elegant and lengthy.
A very refreshing glass by itself, or pair it with fresh crustaceans or white fish. Copes beautifully with spicy Eastern dishes.