Producer profiles - Eagles' Nest
We shipped our first vintage, 2009, of the Eagles' Nest Merlot in 2014 after discovering this incredible winery in Constantia; young, dynamic and with the most amazing situation and microclimate, the steep vineyards are more like the rolling hills
The Eagles Nest wine estate sits high above sea level on carved terraces on the beautiful Table mountain. The altitude, cool ocean breeze along with the wonderful South African sun ensure the grape quality really is the very best that it can be.
Duran is passionate, creative and has an immense understanding of Constantia, as well as experience working internationally in Bordeaux and New Zealand.
Eagles Nest's unique terrain and boutique size allows for the production of really interesting wines that are a true reflection of their very special terroir which deliver exceptional value. True culinary wines, stylistically they have all the richness you'd expect from a new world wine, yet the balanced acidity, poise, elegance and complexity of their old world counterparts, the Viognier is half the price of a Condrieu but all of the pleasure, superb Christmas dinner white.
For a truly memorable wine experience, treat yourself to a mixed case of the Eagles' Nest wines with a whopping 25% discount AND free delivery. Such a rewarding investment, whether for this Christmas or next.
So let's get up close and personal with Duran. Remember we are offering silly discounts on our featured producer cases to support the brilliant work they do in delivering us such pleasure in a bottle.
Up Close and Personal with Duran Cornhill
How did you get started as a wine producer?
It all started during a 'gap' year in London, I worked at a bar that was part of the Hilton Group. During this time I took a passionate interest to wine, absorbing any knowledge that was spoken. It was after about 6 months here that I phoned home, registered to study a BSc Agri Viticulture & Oenology at Stellenbosch University and from there on there was no turning back.
Do you have a favourite grape variety to work with, and why?
Currently my preferred variety is Viognier, I am just so intrigued as to how expressive this grape is, for me the key is to find the balance between freshness, texture and aromatics. Harvest date is key.
What's the most challenging part of your job?
Every year comes with its own unique set of challenges, understandable, as we are working alongside nature. I prefer to say the least preferred part of my job is admin, I am terrible at it and therefore find it challenging to get around to it. All I want to do is play in my cellar and taste wines.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Bottling day, this marks the end of a chapter and the completion of a vintage, the end of my nurturing as a winemaker from vineyard to bottle and the wine is now available for consumers to enjoy.
Who do you most admire in the wine world?
My good friend and long-term mentor Matt Day. Honestly making South Africa's most iconic wine and probably the greatest sweet wine in the world — Vin De Constance — LEGEND!
What does the word 'terroir' mean to you and how does it relate to the wines you produce?
Terroir in less technical terms is the sum of all natural factors and influences that make a specific site unique. It is my responsibility as Winemaker to respect these factors and to express them in the wine I produce. At Eagles' Nest we have a particularly unique 'terroir' in between the slopes of the Constantiaberg, allowing for a Winemaker's dream playground.
How do you practice sustainability and what is its importance to you?
We are a member of the IPW (Integrated Production of Wine) Scheme and abide by all its protocols. In the vineyard we practice integrated pest management, alien tree removal, erosion control and rehabilitation of natural vegetation (fynbos). It is a passion and policy to protect this unique piece of land.
What role does family play within your business ?
Eagles Nest is owned by the Mylrea family. They are actively involved in the running of the business, so fantastic to have daily access to them from an input and decision-making perspective.
Which wines were on your table last Christmas?
We drank loads of wine, but the two that stand out for me was a Magnum of the Eagles' Nest Shiraz 2014 (currently my favourite vintage) as well as a bottle of the 2009 Vin de Constance from Klein Constantia.
If you were a wine... write a short tasting note that best describes you?
Tight in the beginning but opens to expressive notes that show respect and true character. Elegant on the palate with a long finish.