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Vineyard News

  • Five Fun Itinerary Ideas - Cape Winelands

    It's the start of the summer season in South Africa and that means it's the time of year that visitors from the UK make their way to the Cape Winelands. Here are five must do's to add to any itinerary when visiting Franschhoek and Stellenbosch.

    Picnics at Mont Rochelle

    In addition to the Country Kitchen and Miko Restaurant, Mont Rochelle offers delicious picnics baskets. Two adults can share a basket that includes cheeses, charcuteries, salads, wraps and more (especially the delicious dessert). Kids under 12 receive their own basket with a child-appropriate menu.

    For more information, visit Mont Rochelle's website here.

    MCC and canapes at Le Lude

    We always have time for bubbles and the perfect spot to enjoy a tasting of Method Cap Classique is at Le Lude in Franschhoek. Their enchanting and beautiful setting complements their wonderful wines and their canape tasting is definitely worth trying. Le Lude offers three canape options, including a selection for vegetarians.

    The rose garden at Le Lude

    While at Le Lude, make sure you take in their glorious rose garden and the views across the surrounding Franschhoek mountains.

    For more information, visit Le Lude's website here.

    Find Wine and Food Pairing at GlenWood

    The tranquil setting at GlenWood is the perfect backdrop for a very innovative tasting experience. On arrival, you will be presented with a specifically designed tasting palette offering six tastings that compliment six of GlenWood's wines. After tasting, select your lunch main course from your favourite tasting and a glass of wine to accompany it.

    GlenWood Fine Wine and Food Experience

    You will not be disappointed by this perfectly planned and prepared tasting! The exquisite wines and the delicious meals accompanying them are not to be missed.

    Learn more on the GlenWood website here.

    Horseback Wine Tasting at Rickety Bridge and Mont Rochelle

    This is one for the horse lovers among us! Beginner or advanced, this experience will be one you thoroughly enjoy.

    The wine tasting on horseback experience begins at Paradise Stables and lasts around four hours. You pass GlenWood and ride towards Rickety Bridge where you will stop for a wine tasting. After that, it's back on the horses and on to Mont Rochelle for another wine tasting.

    Horseback wine tour stopping at Rickety Bridge

    Such beautiful vistas surround you on this unique tasting and excellent wines await you at each stop. You will be so pleased you included this on your itinerary.

    For more information, visit Paradise Stables' website here.

    Duck Parade and Saturday Market at Vergenoegd

    The very first vineyard at the start of the Stellenbosch Winelands, closest to Cape Town, is the Vergenoegd Low Wine Estate. Along with very good wines, they also have a very novel parade by their pest controlling Indian Runner Ducks a few times a day.

    Vergenoegd Duck Parade

    Each Saturday, Vergenoegd hosts a market from 9am until 3pm, offering crafts, food, beverages, wine tastings and live entertainment. If fitness is your thing, then why not start Saturday off with an early morning run at 8am, hosted by Vergenoegd.

    For more information on these and other activities offered by Vergenoegd, visit their website here.

    There are so many other activities to enjoy when visiting the Cape Winelands. Are there any others you are looking forward to when visiting? Let us know and we can feature those on an upcoming blog post.

  • Welcome to Quinta do Ermízio!

    This week, Hard To Find Wines welcomes Quinta do Ermízio, a tiny vineyard producing just 3 handmade whites in the Vinho Verde region of Portugal (40,000 bottles per year in total). Quinta do Ermízio has been passionately producing Alvarinho, Loureiro and Trajadura wines for generations.

    Concept

    Quinta do Ermízio believes that wine profile and character begins in the vineyard. The wine-making technology used in the winery enhances what already exists in the grapes and amplifies the house style. A minimalist wine-making philosophy is used along with no use of oak or low temperature fermentation. The objective is to magnify the expression of the terroir, the character of soil, climate and grape variety on the wine. This allows the style to be maintained while still allowing the differences between each vintage to show through.

    Harvest

    A photo of the harvest at Quinta

    Grapes are hand-picked and transported to the winery in small containers and immediately processed. Grapes from different varieties and vineyard plots are processed individually to either be bottled on their own, to enhance expression of a certain terroir, or they are blended to produce wines according to Quinta style and character.

    Bottle ageing

    Quinta do Ermízio produces wines that age well, in contrast to the usual perception of Vinho Verde wines. Their wines are often better the following year and last for many years in bottle.

    Purchase your bottles today through the Hard To Find Wines website, by clicking on the links below.

    Quinta do Ermízio
    Campo do Porral 2016
    £7.99

    A bottle of Quinta Campo do Porral

    A classic Vinho Verde, a blend of Loureiro and Trajadura, fresh and easy to drink, but expressing the terroir and the character of the grape varieties. An elegant nose, soft and long palate, and clean and fresh finish. Easy drinking with roundness and pleasant mouth feel. To be drunk when young but due to its acidity and structure it can age for a few years. Serve at 8 ºC. Best with a snack or light fish courses. Also very good as an aperitif.

    Quinta do Ermízio
    Vinha do Cuco 2016
    £10.99

    A bottle of Quinta Vinha du Coco

    A blend of 70% Alvarinho and 30% Loureiro, this is a charming wine due to its 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 were produced. Serve at 10 ºC directly from the bottle. Best when accompanying an entrée or fish courses.

    Quinta do Ermízio
    Vinha da Bouca 2016
    £12.99

    A bottle of Quinta Vinha da Bouca

    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 that requires some time to be fully understood. Only 10,000 bottles produced. Serve at 10 ºC directly from the bottle. Best when accompanying fish or light meat.

  • GlenWood: Bottling their 2017 Merlot

    We had the privilege of observing the bottling of GlenWood's 2017 Merlot on Friday, 2 February 2018. What an exciting morning! Here are some photos of the process.

    A photo of Merlot being pumped from the tank

    Merlot being pumped from the tank to the bottling plant

    A photo of the bottling trailer

    The wine is pumped to the bottling trailer

    Continue Reading

  • Haute Cabriere Launches New Summer Menus

    Haute Cabriere, an iconic Franschhoek wine farm and a favourite stop on many of our clients' visits to South Africa, has released their 2017 summer menus. To complement the new menus and the beautiful setting of their location, Haute Cabriere will be extending their Tasting Room and Restaurant opening hours from 1 November.

    “With summer approaching it only makes sense to make this beautiful setting available for longer, and extend our food and wine offering,” comments Marketing Manager Lientjie McLachlan.

    New tasting room tapas and oyster menu for summer

    The Tasting Room will extend its hours 1 November 2017, and will be open from Mondays to Saturdays and Public Holidays from 10am to 6pm and Sundays from 11am to 4pm.

    A tapas-style, small plates menu has been introduced at the Tasting Room as a perfect accompaniment to the range of Haute Cabriere wines and Méthode Cap Classiques. 

    Various plates of tapas style food from Haute Cabriere's Tasting Room summer menus with Haute Cabriere's Pierre Jourdan Brut and other wines

    The small plates menu will be served on the terrace from 11am to 6pm Monday to Saturday during the South African summer season to allow guests to linger a little longer while taking in views of the valley.

    Restaurant dining now open seven days a week

    Continue Reading

  • 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

  • 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

  • Mont Rochelle Wines Now Available in the UK

    Mont Rochelle in the French Quarter of Franschhoek is the newest addition to Virgin Limited Edition and was purchased by the Richard Branson company back in 2014. Since then the old farm has been transformed into a luxurious hotel, as well as investing heavily into the infrastructure of the wine farm.

    The vineyard is located in a perfect position within the Franschhoek area, benefiting from a more temperate climate than much of the rest of South Africa as well as having wonderfully fertile granite and clay soils on it's sloping plantation.

    Although only a small range of wines is being produced at the Mont Rochelle Estate, the wines are, as one would expect, of a very high quality and beautifully capture the terroir of the region. A mere 6500 cases a year are produced across the Mont Rochelle portfolio all under the watchful eye of winemaker Dustin Osborne.

    Perhaps the most striking feature of the Mont Rochelle wine range is the absolutely incredible value for money that these hand crafted wines offer. Starting at just over £10 a bottle these wines give many a wine double the price a good run for their money and are set to only improve on this start.

    The Little Rock range of white and red are immaculately presented and do not disappoint on the taste front either. The White pale straw green in colour with a delicate peach and citrus profile, elegant with balanced texture and acidity. The wine is produced using a blend of four distinct grapes: Semillon, Viognier, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. The red is a blended wine of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with dollops of Mourvèdre and Petit Verdot all lending a helping hand to the final blend. This wine strikes a perfect balance between easy-drinking and complexity showing a balanced fruit profile and a smooth, soft palate.

    The premium range from Mont Rochelle is equally good value from between £11.49 to £14.49 a bottle with Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon on offer. The full portfolio of Mont Rochelle wines we have in stock can be found here.

  • New wines from Vierkoppen available now

    When approached a few months back by Vierkoppen to see if we were interested in stocking their wines, there was a hint of trepidation. This is in no small part to the fact that the location of this vineyard in Robertson, South Africa, holds mixed feelings for me.

    If we were to rewind 10 years, Robertson was hardly considered as a quality wine growing region, perhaps producing bulk fruit for supermarket type wines, but certainly less so for high quality premium wines. However, times have very much changed, and Robertson is now without doubt one of the world's best kept secrets in terms of quality wine growing regions.

    Focussing primarily on Sauvignon Blanc, Pinotage and Cabernet Sauvignon, Vierkoppen is an outstanding producer of top quality South African wine. In the latest edition of Platter a brace of their wines achieved the heady heights of 4.5 stars - no mean achievement when considering many estates take decades to achieve this level of quality and recognition from their wines, and Vierkoppen have done it in just a handful of years.

    The Vierkoppen Sauvignon Blanc is a perfect balance between fresh tropical fruits and a refreshing minerality, a wonderful bed fellow to spicy foods or to be enjoyed on a sun soaked veranda. At just £10.99 it also represents fantastic value for money, with many similar style Sauvignons from across the mountains in Stellenbosch coming in at over 30% more in price.

    Similar can be said for the two red wines produced, the Vierkoppen Pinotage and Vierkoppen Cabernet Sauvignon. These wines come in at just under £13, but wow what are treat you are getting for your hard earned cash. Both ooze quality with refined tannins and supple mouth feel, followed by layers of textured fruit. All of these wines are handcrafted and produced in only minute quantities, a far cry from the South African bulk wine days of old, whose mantle seems to have been taken up now by the Australians (there are still wonderful boutique vineyards in Oz, but far too many have been eaten up by the commercial breweries and multinational conglomerates).

    The South African wine industry in my view, is currently leading much of the world in how it approaches and delivers wonderful wines. Their winemakers, usually from a grounding at Stellenbosch University, embrace the world of wine growing practices from across the globe, along with winemaking skills. Unlike the rigid appellation systems in France, Spain and Italy they are free to experiment, and work with the land, vines and grapes to produce the best possible wine from that terroir.

    If you only try one new wine this year, you could not go far wrong with one of these awesome wines from Robertson, which can be found here

  • New Martinborough wine Te Hera Pinot Noir available from Hard to Find Wines

    Having been searching for sometime for a new Martinborough producer to add to our portfolio, last Summer was a eureka moment when stumbling across Te Hera Estate at the London World's Leading Wines fair and were compelled to introduce our clients to their incredible Te Hera Pinot Noir.

    The estate was originally planted in 1996 and produces stunning Pinot Noir grapes from its tiny 13 acre estate. It is very much a family affair, with the captain at the helm (Te Hera translates as "the sail") John Douglas.

    The Pinot Noir wines created at Te Hera reflect without question the wonderful terroir of Martinborough which benefits from cool breezes and low rainfall to provide optimum growing conditions for the notoriously difficult Pinot Noir cultivar. The fruit produced is of exceptional quality which is then transformed into the Kiritea and Reserve labels by meticulous handcrafted winemaking.

    The Kiritea is a wonderfully easy drinking fruit led Pinot and is staggeringly good value for money at just £12.99. The Te Hera Reserve Pinot Noir is a slightly more serious wine, with 16 months in French oak adding a layer of complexity to the wine along with fabulous ageing potential, and is still a snip for a Pinot of this quality at just £18.99. In my quest for Martinborough Pinot Noir I have often sampled wines half the quality for well over double the price!

    These two new Te Hera Pinot Noirs have now landed with us in the UK and are available for immediate delivery and can be purchased here.

  • Mellasat White Pinotage

    Newly available to Hard to Find Wines is the full range of Mellasat wines including their unique White Pinotage.

    The Mellasat White Pinotage 2012 is produced using 100% Pinotage, with the red grapes whole bunch pressed immediately after picking, preventing the juice from obtaining colour from the skins. Continue Reading

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