Paserene is first and foremost about unification – which is clear in the wines, labels, architecture and what is evidently a close friendship between business partners Martin Smith and Ndabe Mareda.
“I would consider myself a precision winemaker. A good balance between being technical and being intuitive. I tinker with my wines…a lot. I will ponder if I want to take a certain action for weeks on end. I like wines with weight, wines with a lot of colour and tannin, but they need to have balance. I record everything, nothing is wasted and nothing is taken for granted. That is the key. I have tasted wines with 100% new oak and a 15,5 % alcohol that is in complete harmony”.
“I love tasting older wines, I wonder about the hands that make that wine, where are they now, are they still alive? Did it rain a lot that year, was it warm. What cars people drove then? The politics, what were their fears, aspirations were there still a lot of fish in the oceans; was life easier then? Truly old wines from the 1920’s and 1940’s, is like a time capsule, a liquid photograph. I hope people can taste my wines when I am no longer here”.
The artwork for the Paserene labels is something of elegance and beauty. The art extends to writing and music and on the back of each bottle are three words that sum up the wine inside.
The story behind the swallow is a true testament to Martin’s adventures abroad and the need to spread his wings, all the while having a yearning to return home to create his nest – Paserene. The woman symbolises how he views his wines. Martin has always felt that his wines, especially those produced in Tulbagh are feminine in style because of their likeness to the areas’ beauty and fragility.
“I worked with Lorraine Loots, Carmen Ziervogel and Lauren Ann McCarthy. Besides probably being the most attractive creative team in Cape Town, they are also the most gifted. The swallow on the Marathon was created by Lorraine to commemorate my time in the States and travelling between South Africa and there. The colours used refer to the warmth and energy of the wine. Carmen created the girl. I wanted to have an image of a woman on the label because of where the wine is from and because the wine itself was always a woman to me. To me, Elgin is intoxicatingly beautiful. It is a gentle place with its hills and valleys, the way it gets rain and 18 degree days while the rest of the country suffers a heat wave. Once you understand the place, the way she works, the rain, cold and ‘ever-greenness’, you fall in love. The wine is like that too. 100% Chardonnay that is fragile and yet powerful”.