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Awards

  • South African Sweet Wine Awards

    WineMag.co.za Launches Inaugural South African Sweet Wine Report

    South African Sweet Wines have been pitted against one another and an international contender in the inaugural WineMag.co.za Sweet Wine Report. The South African Wines proved their quality and according to the Report they "can stand alongside the same from anywhere in the world" with very good results.

    The inaugural Sweet Wine Report focused on wines in the categories of Natural Sweet, Noble Late Harvest, Straw Wine, Hanepoot and Muscadel.

    Wines were tasted blind by the panel of three with scoring done according to the 100-point quality scale.

    For more on the report, visit WineMag.co.za.

    Sweet-Wine-Report-2018-logo

    To see which of the award-winning Sweet Wines Hard to Find Wines has available, read on!

    NOBLE LATE HARVEST

    GlenWood
    Grand Duc Noblesse NV
    £19.99

    GlenWood Grand Duc Noblesse NV

    91 Points
    Stunning dessert wine produced from Semillon and a dash of Sauvignon Blanc, cosseted in oak for 3 years. Hedonistic yet superbly balanced with deep layers of kumquat, honey and fynbos.

    Buitenverwachting
    1769
    2015
    £17.99

    A bottle of Buitenverwachting 1769 2015

    93 Points
    Noble Late Harvest dessert wine produced by Buitenverwachting in Cape Town's Constantia Wine Route. Honey and apricot embrace a sweet sticky liquid with a lingering sugary aftertaste.


    STRAW WINE

    Orange River Cellars
    Straw Wine
    2014
    £9.99

    A bottle of Orange River Cellars Straw Wine

    91 Points
    The grapes for this wine were air dried for 3 weeks before crushing. Allowed to ferment in second fill 225-litre oak barrels. Amber colouration with white stone fruit and peach and just a gentle hint of spiced almonds.


    MUSCADEL

    Orange River Cellars
    Red Muscadel NV
    £9.99

    A bottle of Orange River Cellars Red Muscadel

    91 Points
    Orange-red colouration, a lighter style of fortified wine. Raisins and sultanas with a light fruity sweetness and just a hint of orange peel.

    Orange River Cellars
    White Muscadel NV
    £9.99

    A bottle of Orange River Cellars White Muscadel

    90 Points
    A deep golden hue, intense ripe fruit blossom and dried figs. Light and fresh with a balanced sweetness.

  • GlenWood Vineyards' Recent Awards

    On Thursday, 4 October and Saturday, 6 October, DP Burger of GlenWood Vineyards in Franschhoek, South Africa will be hosting events with Hard To Find Wines in celebration of GlenWood's award-winning wines.

    To give some perspective on how excellent their wines are, here are some of GlenWood Vineyards' recent awards.

     


     

     

     Glenwood - Chardonnay - Vigneron's Selection - 2015

    Vigneron’s Selection Chardonnay 2016

    - Decanter World Wine Awards – Silver
    - International Wine and Spirits Competition – Silver
    - South African Wine Index – Platinum (95+)
    - Prescient Chardonnay Report – 92 points
    - Franschhoek Appellation Grand Prestige Status
    - Chardonnay du Monde – Silver
    - Vitis Vinifera – Gold
    - Winemag Chardonnay Report – 92 points

    A bottle of GlenWood Grand Duc Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2016

    Grand Duc Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc 2016

    - SA Terroir Wine Awards – Best in District
    - Platter’s 4.5* (92 points)

    GlenWood Grand Duc Noblesse NV

    Grand Duc Noblesse 2014

    - Winemag Sweet Wine report – 90 points

    Would you like to learn of previous awards won by GlenWood? Take a look at one of our previous blog posts.

    For more information on our upcoming London and Shropshire GlenWood events, visit our blog here. Book your tickets - don't delay!

  • Alvarinho - a Truly Celebrated Wine!

    It's International Alvarinho Day on 2 August! And because Alvarinho is such a popular wine, each year the wine festival Fiesta del Albariño, takes place in Cambados, Spain! This year, the festival will run from 1 to 5 August.

    If you are unfamiliar with Alvarinho (also called Albariño), it is a light-bodied dry white wine grown mostly in Spain and Portugal. Best known for high acidity, citrus flavours and a touch of saltiness, it is often compared to Viognier and Gerwurztraminer,  with its botanical aromas and stone fruits, Pinot Gris and Chenin Blanc.

    Where Alvarinho Grows

    Alvarinho is traditionally grown in Portugal and Spain. Spanish Alvarinho wines are usually labeled Rias Baixas and in Portugal, Alvarinho is often blended into Vinho Verde wines. Alvarinho is spreading internationally and can now be found growing in California, Argentina, New Zealand and as far away as Brazil and Uruguay.

    Hard To Find Wines stocks Alvarinho from Quinta Do Ermizio in Portugal. For available wines, read on!

    Alvarinho Tasting Notes

    Served cold, Alvarinho has aromas of citrus (lemon, lime and grapefruit), pear, honeysuckle, nectarine and beeswax, held together with subtle minerality. The taste offers acidity, saltiness and a subtle bitterness.

    As the temperature increases in the glass, the flavours evolve to apricot, apple and pear notes.

    Many Alvarinho wines can age for up to 7 years but it is usually best enjoyed within 2 years  the vintage to maintain the acidity and fruity aromas.

    How to Serve Alvarinho Wines

    While Alvarinho is wonderful enjoyed as an aperitif, its high acidity and slight bitterness make it an ideal food pairing wine.

    Serve Alvarinho with seafood, white meats and light-coloured sauces. Alvarinho works particularly well with dishes enhanced with citrus flavours or aromatic herbs. Vietnamese, Thai and California-style Sushi pair well, as do ceviche, seafood pasta and shrimp.

    Quinta Do Ermizio
    Vinha Do Bouca 2016
    £12.99

    A bottle of Quinta Vinha da Bouca

    Gold Medal Albarinhos Al Monde

    A different and very mineral Alvarinho. Delicate bouquet combined with soft and fresh palate developing fruit and mineral hints. Good structure and mouth-filling with a long a clean finish. This is a wine with a refreshingly and harmonious aftertaste. Only 10,000 bottles produced.

    Quinta Do Ermizio
    Vinha Do Cuco 2016
    £10.99

    A bottle of Quinta Vinha du Coco

    A blend of Alvarinho (70%) and Loureiro (30%), this charming wine has an elegant and distinct nose.  The palate is round and intense, lovely fruit and fresh acidity, with a clean and mineral finish. The combination of a discrete nose with mouth feeling makes this wine very pleasant to drink. Only 10,000 bottles produced.

  • La Couronne: the Crown of Franschhoek Part 2

    In Part 1 of our La Couronne blog post last month, we explored the history behind La Couronne and looked at some of their award-winning wines. In this, Part 2, we learn more about their wine and winemaking.

    The Team behind the Wines

    La Couronne maintains a small, tight-knit team at the farm that are led by Owner, Francois Smith; Wine Maker, Henk Swart; and General Manager, Eldorette Carinus.

    All three and the other team members working with them are passionate about wine and the wine industry.

    La Couronne maintains high standards of sustainable and ethical winemaking practices. One example is one of their water-saving exercises (a very important detail in the currently drought-stricken Western Cape area of South Africa): any run-off created during the winemaking process is used to irrigate the vineyards.

    The Grapes behind the Wines

    Shiraz Grapes at La Couronne

    La Couronne has over 23 hectares of vines, made up of 9 grape varietals: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz, Merlot, Malbec, Viognier, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. All grapes are hand-picked and La Couronne's cellar has the capacity to process 200 tons of harvested grapes.

    Most of La Couronne's barrels are French Oak, with a smaller number of Hungarian and American Oak barrels. Stainless steel tanks are also used in the fermentation process. La Couronne uses Speidal Egg tanks to ferment and age some of their red wines to ensure an excellent outcome.

    Award-winning Wines

    In Part 1, we let you know that La Couronne has been awarded a Gold Medal and the IWC Franschhoek Chardonnay Trophy at the International Wine Challenge 2018 for their Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2016. Their Limited Release Pinotage 2015 and Merlot Rose 2017 were both awarded a Bronze Medal, and their Malbec 2015 received a Commended at the IWC.

    A number of other awards received over the past year include:

    Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2014
    £14.99

    A bottle of La Couronne Chardonnay 2014

    Outstanding oak and fruit integration with a full rich creamy mouthfeel of almonds and vanilla. Light lingering aftertaste of peaches and hints of citrus. This is La Couronne's maiden vintage of this barrel fermented Chardonnay.

    • 2015 - Vitis Vinifera Award – Gold
    • 2015 - John Platter Award – 4 Stars

    Malbec 2014
    £14.99

    A bottle of La Couronne Malbec 2014

    Decadent aromas of dark cocoa and Eastern spices. The palate offers ripened plums and crushed berries finishing with lingering creamy oak.

    • 2014 – Gold Wine Award – Gold
    • 2015 – Veritas Award – Silver
    • 2015 – Vitis Vinifera Award – Gold
    • 2015 – Terrior Wine Award

    Merlot Rose 2017
    £8.99
    A bottle of La Couronne Merlot Rose

    100% Merlot goes into this quality rose. A deliciously delicate rose, with bright pink colouration and a subtle strawberry nose. The palate is surprisingly refreshing and dry, with soft berry flavours.

    • 2017 – The Global Rosé Masters 2018 – Silver
    • 2017 – Vitis Vinifera Award – Gold
    • 2017 – Michelangelo Award – Gold
    • 2017 – Rosé Rocks Award – Double Gold
    • 2017 – Gold Wine Award – Gold

    Upper Deck Red 2015
    £8.79

    A bottle of La Couronne Upper Deck Red

    A well rounded, medium bodied, easy drinking wine with spicy smoky aromas and soft tannins. it has an has an impressive smoothness and a long fruity finish.

    • 2015 – Gold Wine Award – Gold

    If you would like to broader sample of La Couronne's wines before deciding on your favourite, why not try our Taster Case?

    La Couronne Taster Case
    £54.99

    Taster case of La Couronne Wines

    Currently on offer at 12% off, this case contains a 6-bottle selection from the La Couronne range of wines. Included in this taster selection is their wonderful bordeaux-style blend, the Portside Red and one of only a handful of single varietal Malbecs being produced in SA at present. The mixed case includes a bottle each of:

    La Couronne Unwooded Chardonnay
    La Couronne Sauvignon Blanc
    La Couronne Merlot Rose
    La Couronne Portside Red
    La Couronne Pinotage
    La Couronne Malbec

  • Bladen Wines: Hospitality and Handcrafted Wines

    Dave and Christine Macdonald own and run Bladen Wines, situated in the Marlborough region of New Zealand. Bladen is named after the Macdonald's children, Blair and Deni, who were toddlers when the vineyard was founded.

    In 1989, Dave and Chris left the city behind to chase their dream of establishing a vineyard and winery. The family embarked on a national tour to find the ideal winegrowing region in New Zealand and the perfect vineyard location. Dave and Chris are amongst the pioneers of the Marlborough winegrowing region where they ultimately settled, with only eight wineries in the district when Bladen started.

    Dave and Chris have developed a reputation for creating cool climate wines of exceptional quality. Only 8 hectares of vines have been planted by hand at Bladen. All other grapes used to produce their wines are sourced from tiny vineyard blocks owned by friends. Almost every grape is checked before marking it into the final wine production which adds to the real handcrafted essence of the wines.

    RECENT AWARDS

    This has been a great year for Bladen with many award successes.

    Cellar Door of the Year
    In November, Bladen was awarded the Trophy for Wine Marlborough's "Cellar Door of the Year" for 2017, jointly shared with Hunters Wines. On the same evening, Dave was awarded the Trophy for Wine Marlborough's "Cellar Door Personality of the Year" for 2017 shared, with Kimberly Matthews from Brancott Estate.

    New Zealand International Wine Competition 2017
    Gewurztraminer 2017 - Gold
    Pinot Gris 2016 - Gold
    Pinot Rose 2017 - Silver
    Riesling 2017 - Silver

    Air New Zealand Wine Awards 2017
    Gewurztraminer 2017 - Gold

    Marlborough Wine Show 2017
    Gewurztraminer 2017 - Silver

    Canterbury A&P Show New Zealand Aromatic Wine Competition 2017
    Pinot Gris 2016 - Gold
    Pinot Rose 2017 - Silver

    Royal Easter Show Wine Awards
    Pinot Gris 2016 - Gold

    WINES

    Sauvignon Blanc 2017
    £13.99

    A bottle of Bladen Sauvignon Blanc 2016

    Light-straw with a green hue and a bright clarity. Lifted aromas of grapefruit and lemon zest, with subtle notes of stone fruit, mown grass and red capsicum. Layers of citrus and passionfruit on the palate with an underlying core of wet rock minerality. This wine has a fine texture, with a long refreshing finish.

    Bladen's Sauvignon Blanc is an accurate reflection of a true Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc but remains incredible value for money.

    Pinot Gris 2016
    £15.99
    Currently out of stock

    A bottle of Pinot Gris 2016

    Light-straw in colour. A medium bodied wine with complex aromas of spiced pear, nougat, toasted almonds and quince aromas, a creamy texture and plenty of ripe fruit flavours which persist on a long, full finish.

    Pinot Noir 2015
    £19.99

    A bottle of Bladen Pinot Noir 2015

    Deep-ruby colour, on the nose lifted red cherries and plum with a delicate aniseed and cinnamon note. A medium bodied wine with prominent red fruit flavour’s, spicy oak and savoury complexity. Gentle tannins and lingering acidity give velvet like texture with a fine finish.

    Pinot Rose 2017
    £13.99

    Bladen Rose 2017

    Salmon-blush with a pink hue. Lifted red fresh fruit notes, such as strawberry and raspberry on the nose with a touch of thyme and fresh herbs adding to the complexity. Juicy watermelon and fresh summer fruits on the palate, with a hint of creaming soda. The palate is crisp and refreshing, with a dry finish.

    Gewurztraminer 2015
    £15.99

    Bladen Gerwurtzraminer 2015

    A bright straw colouration leading to a nose of rose petals and Turkish delight. A full mouth feel with a rich texture and palate of lychee and gentle citrus. A balanced sweetness and floral tones.

    Riesling 2016
    £13.99

    Bladen Riesling 2016

    Light-straw in colour with a green hue and a bright clarity. Aromatic notes of lemon, lime and apple on the nose with intriguing ginger and nutmeg spice notes. Medium bodied with layers of citrus fruit, zest and spice overtones.

    Little Angel Sauvignon Blanc 2016
    £12.99

    Little Angel Sauvignon Blanc 2016

    Zingy tropical fruit flavours with a long finish. Fresh scented gooseberry nose with hints of lemon zest. Medium bodied and not overpowering, lively acidity and fresh fruit flavours.

    Little Angel Pinot Gris 2016
    £12.99

    Little Angel Pinot Gris 2016

    Soft and silky Pinot Gris with a well balanced palate, easy drinking, showing luscious peach and apricot tones. Creamy with hints of nutmeg.

    Visit our website to order your Bladen wines today. Don't delay - we often find our stock of Bladen Wines runs out!

  • La Couronne: the Crown of Franschhoek Part 1

    Nestled against the Klein Dassenberg Mountain in this beautiful corner of South Africa lies the peaceful gem of a wine farm, La Couronne Estate. This essential stop on any wine tour of the Franschhoek winelands boasts spectacular views of vineyard-covered slopes and towering peaks.

    History

    La Couronne means “The Crown” and pays homage to a warship built by the French Navy in 1636. The Crown transported 277 French Huguenots, escaping persecution for their faith in their homeland, to the Cape area of South Africa in 1685. The slopes of the current La Couronne farm site were settled over 300 years ago by the Huguenots who brought with them their iconic French winemaking knowledge.

    Activities

    A warm welcome by the La Couronne team, led by Eldorette Carinus and winemaker Henk Swart, awaits guests from wine connoisseurs to tourists and even to families with little ones. A variety of activities is catered for, including wedding functions, picnics, lunches, wine tastings and wine pairings.

    La Couronne's wine pairings include wine and chocolate, wine and pizza and a very South African wine and braai (BBQ) pairing.

    Award-winning Wines

    La Couronne has secured a number of awards for their wines, with the most recent medals and trophies being awarded at the International Wine Challenge 2018.

    La Couronne's Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2016 won a Gold Medal as well as the IWC Franschhoek Chardonnay Trophy. La Couronne's Limited Release Pinotage 2015 scooped a Bronze Medal, as did their Merlot Rose 2017 and their Malbec 2015 received a Commended.

    Gold Medal and Trophy winning Chardonnay 2016 is on its way to Hard To Find Wines. In the meantime, why not order these La Couronne wines while you wait.

    Chardonnay 2014
    £14.99

    A bottle of La Couronne Chardonnay 2014

    Outstanding oak and fruit integration with a full rich creamy mouthfeel of almonds and vanilla. Light lingering aftertaste of peaches and hints of citrus. This is La Couronne’s maiden vintage of this barrel fermented Chardonnay.

    Pinotage 2016
    £11.99

    A bottle of La Couronne Pinotage 2016

    A rich full bodied wine with an earthy aroma coupled with dark fruits. The palate is smooth and succulent, with touches of spice and brambles accompanying dark cherry and blackcurrant flavours.

    Merlot Rose 2017
    £8.99

    A bottle of La Couronne Merlot Rose

    100% Merlot goes in to this quality rose from Franschhoek. A deliciously delicate rose, with bright pink colouration and a subtle strawberry nose. The palate is surprisingly refreshing and dry, with soft berry flavours.

    Malbec 2014
    £14.99

    A bottle of La Couronne Malbec 2014

    Decadent aromas of dark cocoa and Eastern spices. The palate offers ripened plums and crushed berries finishing with lingering creamy oak. The La Couronne Malbec is one of only a handful of single varietal Malbec's currently to be produced in South Africa, making this a fairly unique wine. The quality of this wine shines through, with the Malbec taking on the South African terroir superbly in the shape of a depth of flavour that many Argentinian Malbec's lack.

    Do you want to learn a bit more about La Couronne's range of wines and the passions and purposes of their winemaking? Part 2 of this post will follow next month, so keep your eye on our Facebook page or the blog for that post!

  • IWC Winners for 2018!

    The International Wine Challenge is in its 34th year. The IWC is a meticulously judged wine competition where each wine is judged blind for faithfulness to style, region and vintage. During the judging process, each medal-winning wine is tasted on three occasions by at least 10 different judges. Awards include medals (Trophy, Gold, Silver, Bronze) as well as Commended and Great Value awards.

    Our South African wines put on quite a show this year. Below are the winners of Trophy, Gold and Silver awards.

    LA COURONNE

    Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2016
    IWC Franschhoek Chardonnay Trophy and Gold Medal

    A bottle of La Couronne Chardonnay 2016

    Congratulations to Eldorette, Henk and the team at La Couronne in Franschhoek on winning the IWC Franschhoek Chardonnay Trophy and Gold Medal for their Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2016. This is a lovely, complex, medium weight chardonnay with scented vanilla spice, some honey and pear. A tangy, saline acidity and a long, refreshing finish.

    In addition to this Gold Medal and Trophy, La Couronne also won Bronze Medals for their Limited Release Pinotage 2015 and their Merlot Rose 2017 and a Commended for their Malbec 2015.

    ASARA

    The Bell Tower 2013
    IWC Silver Medal

    A bottle of Asara Bell Tower 2013

    Sleek, intense and packed with sweet black plum and bitter chocolate, with an edge of balsamic. A sweet intensity and structure.

    Vineyard Collection Chenin Blanc 2016
    IWC Silver Medal

    A bottle of Asara Vineyard Collection Chenin Blanc 2016

    Fresh tight lean style with vanilla oak characteristics on the finish. Warm, Waxy, ripe style, juicy melon and ripe apple fruit and some lingering honeysuckle.

    GLENWOOD VINEYARDS

    Vigneron's Selection Chardonnay 2016
    IWC Silver Medal

    A bottle of GlenWood Vigneron's Selection Chardonnay 2016

    Bold and powerful citrus burst, mouth-fillingly rich and creamy vanilla with beautifully integrated oak. Butterscotch and glycerine, creamy balance with great length and lift.

    Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc Grand Duc 2016
    IWC Silver Medal

    GW Sem Saus Grand Duc 2016

    Baked apple and cinnamon, buttered popcorn with savoury notes. Long and complex.

    GROOT CONSTANTIA

    Shiraz 2015
    IWC Silver Medal

    A bottle of GC Shiraz 2015

    The 2015 Shiraz shows textbook black pepper spice and violets on the nose with hints of Cape fynbos and black currant.  The intense fruit flavours follow on the palate with firm tannin and a fresh acidity that promises great ageing potential.

    Pinotage 2016
    IWC Silver Medal

    A bottle of Groot Constantia Pinotage 2016

    A bold, generous, rich, plummy fruit with notes of dark chocolate and mocha. A traditional style of Pinotage, of earthy farmyard qualities interlaced with full dark fruits.

    While we do have the Groot Constantia wines in stock, you will need to wait a bit longer for some of these other award winners. We expect the arrival of the Glenwood Vigneron’s Selection Chardonnay 2016 over the course of the next month. The Asara wines and the La Couronne Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2016 will be arriving at Hard To Find Wines over the next few months.

  • GlenWood's People, Community and Environment

    In our previous post on GlenWood, we learned about their history, philosophy and award-winning wines. This post will look at their commitment to people, community and environment as well as the awards and accreditation they and their people have achieved in recent years.

    People

    GlenWood is committed to the development of its people and includes this as an element in its business planning and strategy.

    TRAINING AND AWARDS

    Over the past few years the following awards have been won by people on the GlenWood team:

    - Franschhoek Farm Worker of the Year

    - South African Cellar Worker of the Year.

    GlenWood's Assistant Farm Manager since 2011, Cornel Paulse won Franschhoek Farm Worker of the Year in 2013 and 2015 and placed third in the Western Cape's Farm Worker of the Year in 2015.

    "In line with our staff development programme, we are currently training two people who we hope to enter next year," said Zinaschke Steyn, GlenWood's Assistant Winemaker.

    Continue Reading

  • GlenWood's Award-Winning Wines

    We are really excited to be welcoming GlenWood Vineyards' winemaker, DP Burger, to our Shropshire Tasting Rooms this Friday evening. DP will be hosting a food and wine pairing that will feature six of GlenWood’s wines.

    For more information on the event and to purchase tickets, email us on sales@htfwines.co.uk.

    A brief history of GlenWood Vineyards

    GlenWood started it's history as a general farm in 1811 in the Roberstvlei area of Franschhoek. In 1986, Alastair Wood purchased the GlenWood property. His farming dream was to produce wine.

    “This property immediately attracted me because, not only was it suitable for farming grapes to make quality wine, but it also gave me a wonderful sense of being at the very heart of nature while still being close to the village”, Alastair said.

    DP joined the team shortly thereafter and spearheaded the property's development over the following twelve years, until the farm was fully planted.

    Continue Reading

  • Bladen's Award Winning Wines

    A lineup of Bladen's wine selection including pinot rose, sauvignon blanc, pinot gris, gewürztraminer, riesling

    Photo: Bladen Wines

    It is winter now in New Zealand and Christine and Dave Macdonald of Bladen Wines, based in the Marlborough area are hard at work on the results of the 2017 harvest.

    "The 2016 vintage wines have been fantastic and we are thrilled to still have enough stock to run us through a little longer as the 2017 harvest was smaller than we had hoped for.  However, this last vintage is showing great promise from the tanks and barrels we are sampling and the first of these wines will be bottled very shortly," said Christine.

    Continue Reading

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