Paserene is a boutique winery owned by Martin Smith and Ndabe Mareda situated in the picturesque Franschhoek wine region of South Africa. The winery is not only beautiful with a modern glass tasting room in the heart of rich green lawns, but focuses on luxury wine that will leave a delicious mark on your palate. I was privileged to be a guest at the vineyard for a tasting and to meet Martin, who was not only kind but down-to-earth and excited to explain his process. The name Paserene is derived from the Latin word Passeriformes, which is the order of “traveling and free” bids containing swifts and swallows. This is reflected on bottle artwork and guides the ethos of the brand.
Martin considers himself a precision winemaker, but is not afraid to experiment. He will take weeks to decide on changes or additions to his wines and doesn’t take these actions lightly. He is someone that approaches each process holistically and connected – this is why everything seems to flow on his property and work synergistically. He works not for volume but for taste and style and this is why his wines have received so many accolades.
Paserene offers two ranges of wines to try – the Elements range and the Paserene range. The Elements range source grapes from three different vineyards and include fun and experimental wines that offer everything from a rosé, called Rosie, and sauvignon blanc, called Emerald. One of my absolute favorites was called “Dark” – a rich berry-heavy syrah that offers notes of juicy fruit and Christmas Spice.
The Paserene tasting room is very welcoming and casual. It looks like a piece of art in some ways itself with its glass, wood and steel structure – yet is not formal. It seems that the winemaker wants his guests to feel relaxed here and focus on the product. The Paserene Range offers three varieties – Marathon, Union and Chardonnay. Each one being incredibly different and special. Chardonnay is bright with hints of lemon zest, white peach and oatmeal. Union is stunning, a delicious syrah with notes of blueberries, charcoal and violets. Marathon hits your tongue with black currants, black cherry and fig. This range is my favorite for its heavy reds.
While in the tasting room sipping these glorious wines you will notice your surroundings because of the beauty. None of it is by accident, as it all nods to the nature around and the theme of swallows. The dam in front is a nod to the swallow’s swoop over water, the slate accents representing the mud used by swallows in their nests and the wood the trees around.
Of course the food menu at Paerene’s tasting room is delicious with locally made cheeses, breads and dried meat. All of this pairs phenomenally with the wines and allows you to munch on a little something while enjoying yourself. Even the wooden boards used to serve the snacks are made from recycled barrels – perfection. For anyone seeking a truly unique wine experience and to try some of the best luxury South African wines, Paserene is it.