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Tag Archives: new wines

  • New Arrivals from South Africa

    Latest arrivals from South Africa include new wines and new vintages from La Couronne and, for our South African cricketing fans, Infinity Wine's The First XI The Belter is back in stock!

    La Couronne

    We welcome some new vintages and also some new wines amongst our new arrivals from La Couronne in Franschhoek. Among the delightful new wines, is their IWC Gold Medal winning Barre Fermented Chardonnay 2016.

    NEW WINE - International Wine Challenge Gold Medal
    La Couronne Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2016

    A bottle of La Couronne Barrel Fermented Chardonnay
    A full, rich, creamy mouthfeel of almonds and vanilla with a lingering aftertaste of smoky peach and citrus.
    £17.99

    NEW WINE
    La Couronne Petit Malbec 2015

    A bottle of La Couronne Le Petit Malbec
    La Couronne Le Petit Malbec is more tannic, with a chewy texture, raisin-
    esque flavours and astringent feel noticeable on the palate.
    £12.99

    NEW WINE
    La Couronne Limited Release Pinotage 2016

    A bottle of La Couronne Limited Release Pinotage
    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.

    £24.99

    NEW WINE
    La Couronne Limited Release Viognier 2016

    A bottle of La Couronne Limited Release Viognier
    Viognier is a vibrant, distinct wine with marmalade, honey, peaches and orange blossom flavours, integrated with subtle toasty French oak aroma. The wine has a creamy mouthfeel with nutmeg and apricot flavours lingering on the aftertaste.
    £22.50

    To shop for these wonderful new wines or new vintages of your favourites, click here.
    New vintages in stock include, amongst others: Merlot 2016, Portside Red 2015 and Upper Deck Chenin Blanc 2018

    Infinity Wines

    The Belter is a very popular wine with our customers. We are delighted to announce that with the arrival of our latest wines is more stock of The Belter 2015. If you haven't tried this wine yet, you really should!

    BACK IN STOCK!
    The First XI The Belter 2015

    A bottle of The First XI The Belter 2015
    This intriguing blend of Syrah, Cinsault, Mourvèdre, Grenache and Tannat is silky soft on the palate with succulent tannins and notes of white pepper, red fruit, chocolate and cherry tobacco on the nose. This wine was matured in small French oak barrels for 15 months and all grapes used to make this wine were picked by hand.
    £15.99

    To try other First XI wines, visit our website here.

  • Hard To Find Wines welcomes Iona Wines!

    Iona Wines, owned by Andrew and Roxy Gunn, is situated at 420m above sea-level in the Elgin Valley in South Africa and is proud to be the coolest vineyard in South Africa.

    Planting began in 1998, with Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot the first vines planted. These were followed by Chardonnay, Semillon and Pinot Noir. Shortly after Iona's first vintage in 2001, they became one of South Africa’s top producers of Sauvignon Blanc.

    Iona’s close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and the prevailing southerly winds result in their grapes ripening up to two months later than other Cape vineyards.

     

    Andrew says, "Wines are made in the vineyard, and the best wines come from cool to moderate temperature climes, with low summer rainfall and low potential soils."

    An aerial view at Iona Wines in Elgin, South Africa

    Sustainable Practices

    To ensure the wines they produce are lively, Iona uses no synthetic fertilisers, snail pellets or insecticides in their vineyards. All compost is created using biodynamic methods and preparations, including manure produced by Iona's five cows!

    Winter cover crops of legumes, oats and clovers grow between the vineyard rows. These are used to nourish and mulch the vineyards in turn.

    Chickens at Iona Wines

    Philosophy

    Owners Andrew and Rozy put all their focus and passion into Iona. Everything is done in-house as a result.

    The team at Iona strives to make wine that "expresses the soils and climate as closely as possible, making use of sustainable farming methods and to maximise the use of natural products in farming and winemaking."

    Wines

    A bottle of Iona One Man Band

    Iona Wines
    One Man Band 2011
    £24.99

    Elegant with ripe, juicy red and black fruit. Lovely white pepper and sweet, exotic spice on the nose. The entry is intense, with underlying cedar wood, followed by a long savoury, earthy finish with fine-grained tannins.
    Shiraz 57%, Merlot 15%, Cabernet Sauvignon 9%, Petit Verdot 9%, Mataro 7%, Viognier 3%.

    A bottle of Iona Sauvignon Blanc

    Iona Wines
    Sauvignon Blanc 2017
    £12.99

    Beautiful purity of limes and ripe gooseberry, with tropical, floral and fine herbal notes, ruby grapefruit and white pear drop on the finish. This cool climate Sauvignon blanc is vibrant, mineral, elegant, balanced and delicate, with a long, layered and complex length.

    A bottle of Iona Chardonnay

    Iona Wines
    Chardonnay 2017
    £19.99

    Stylish and Burgundian with lime and lemon undertones.
    Bright citrus, oyster shell minerality, and a hint of almonds and biscuit brioche on the finish.
    Beautiful floral notes and bright fresh acidity persist.

    A bottle of Iona Pinot Noir

    Iona Wines
    Pinot Noir 2014
    £21.99

    Succulent black cherry aroma, bright but delicate and hints of forest floor, with underlying floral and spicy notes. On the palate, the wine is powerful, with silk-textured length.

    A bottle of Iona Solace Syrah

    Iona Wines
    Solace 2015
    £21.99

    Red berry fruit, spiced with white pepper and floral notes. Supple, intense palate with fine matched by fruit depth.

  • New Domaines Vinsmoselle Wines In Stock!

    Hard To Find Wines is delighted to announce the arrival of new wines from Domaines Vinsmoselle in Luxembourg!

    Domaines Vinsmoselle is a co-operative of wineries founded in 1921, situated in the Moselle Valley in Luxembourg.

    Although less well known than other European winemaking regions, Luxembourg produces high-quality, Alsatian-style wines. Primarily white grape varietals are grown, such as Pinot Gris, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, and Auxerrois. However, Pinot Noir is also grown to produce supple, fruity red wines and some sparkling wine blends.

    The rising star amongst Luxembourg wines is Cremant de Luxembourg, a sparkling wine produced using traditional methods. Only grapes grown in Luxembourg are allowed to bear this designation.


    Save 10% on your order of any of our Domaines Vinsmoselle wines!

    Place your order by Sunday, 2 September and received a 10% discount.


    Poll Fabaire Cuvee Schengen Brut
    £14.41
    Was £15.99

    A bottle of Domaines Vinsmoselle Poll Fabaire Brut

    The label "Cremant de Luxembourg" was introduced in 1991. The appellation "Cremant" refers to bottle-fermented sparkling wines made from grapes grown in certain French wine-producing areas that are not in the Champagne region. The grapes for the Poll Fabraire Brut come from the Schengen region and have gone through the traditional double fermentation process to produce a wonderful sparkling wine with lively bubbles and a crisp dry finish.

    Edmond de la Fontaine Pinot Noir 2016
    £16.21

    Was £17.99

    A bottle of Domaines Vinsmoselle Chateau Edmond de la Fontaine Pinot Noir

    A brilliant ruby red in the glass. Its nose is spicy with notes of sour cherry and wild berries, coupled with hints of chocolate and vanilla. On the palate, this wine is full, warm and fruity. Its balanced structure and well wrapped-up tannins give it its distinctive personality.

    Elbling Rose 2017
    £9.00

    Was £9.99

    21127x30_Elbling Vin Rosé AOP 75cl sans millésime

    A fresh and lively, beautifully light rose with only 10.5% alcohol. Cherry and strawberry aromas, hints of grenadine in the nose characterize this salmon-coloured rose. Cherry aromas remain present on the palate. An easy-drinking rose that goes well with every occasion.

    Pinot Gris Premier Cru 2017
    £12.60
    Was £13.99

    A bottle of Domaines Vinsmoselle Pinot Gris Premier Cru

    A typical Pinot Gris, full-bodied, concentrated and aromatic with aromas of smoke, spice, honey, and leather. A full-bodied, complex palate.

    Rivaner 2017
    £9.00
    Was £9.99

    A bottle of Domaines Vinsmoselle Rivaner

    A delicate palate of green apple and ripened melon. Refreshing and light, this white wine is perfect when paired with salads and fish dishes.


    Save 10% on your order of any of our Domaines Vinsmoselle wines!

    Place your order by Sunday, 2 September and received a 10% discount.

    Stadtbredimus-104

  • New Arrival: Haute Cabriere Chardonnay Pinot Noir 2017

    Haute Cabriere's 2017 vintage of their very popular Chardonnay Pinot Noir has just arrived at Hard To Find Wines!

    "The 2017 vintage yielded grapes of outstanding quality, resulting in a beautiful balance of fruit and acidity." says Cellar Master Takuan von Arnim.


     

    Cellar Master's Reflections

    The two noble Burgundian cultivars of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir form the cornerstone of Haute Cabrière’s wine culture.

    Haute Cabrière, situated on the foot of the Franschhoek Pass, was the first winery in South Africa to produce a still wine from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir - a blend traditionally used exclusively for Méthode Cap Classique and Champagne. Chardonnay contributes elegance, and Pinot Noir intensity and richness.

    This blend consists of predominantly unwooded Chardonnay, rounded off with Pinot Noir. Combined in perfect proportions, resulting in a white blend with an abundance of fruit on the nose and a slight creaminess on the palate.


     

    Haute Cabriere
    Chardonnay Pinot Noir 2017
    From £9.99

    A bottle of Haute Cabriere Chardonnay Pinot Noir 2017

    John Platter - 4 stars

    This enticing blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir shows elegant fruit and acidity, creating the perfect balance. You will find an abundance of zesty fruit - most notably white peach, pineapple, lime, followed by subtle red berry fruit - with a delectable full mouthfeel.

    Click here to order your bottles today!


     

    "This latest 2017 vintage has achieved one of its highest ratings in recent years and is a favourite at Hard to Find Wines HQ!

    An iconic wine from the Franschhoek valley, this unique blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir was pioneered by the estate in the early 90's. This vintage shows an incredible freshness yet maintains its signature balance of white stone fruit, peaches and lychee ending on a beautiful berry finish.

    A most versatile wine which can be enjoyed as much on its own as with food pairings."

    - Mark Davies, Hard to Find Wines


     

    Recommended pairings

    Seafood and chicken dishes as well as Mediterranean flavours.

    Click here to order your bottles today!

    Haute Cabriere Chardonnay Pinot Noir 2017 with food

  • Twenty Twelve Wines - a Mallorcan experience

    Hard To Find Wines welcomes Twenty Twelve Wines by Es Fangar, the oldest estate on Mallorca, to our selection this week.

    The Eisenmann family bought Es Fangar in 2000. They have been reconstructing and replanting the land since. Currently, the reclaimed land stands at 1,000 ha, making Es Fangar the Balearics’ largest ecological finca, or estate.

    The vineyards at Es Fangar constitute 56 ha, planted with Mallorcan varieties
    Prensal, Giró Blanc, Callet, Manto Negro and Gargollassa and international varieties Chardonnay, Viognier, Muscat, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Another 400 ha of the estate are left as natural grassland which suits a wide variety of flora and fauna, including tortoises, rabbits, wild goats and a multitude of birds.

    Biodiversity and sustainability

    Es Fangar has full organic certification and makes use of an unusual biological agent to help with the vineyards: bees. Beehives are scattered throughout the estate, 22 colonies in total! The bees are partial to the grape juice and any punctured grapes that would otherwise mould, are hollowed out by the six colonies that live near the vineyards.

    The Es Fangar bees are treated with great care by apiculturists who support the hives in a number of ways. Honey remains in the hives as food for the bees and to ensure their immune systems remain strong. Water is provided by drinking troughs. Even homeopathic treatments are provided!

    Innovations in winemaking

    Quality is a big factor in Es Fangar's winemaking processes. There are a number of different ways that Es Fangar has approached making improvements to their winemaking processes to ensure their organic grapes and, in turn, their wines are of the best possible quality.

    To prevent loss of quality during the harvest, Es Fangar has tailor-made a solution. An electrified monorail system has been created to transport the handpicked grapes into the tanks in the condition they were picked.

    Es Fangar uses organic, plant and clay-based methods of fining. This makes the process more difficult for the winemaker, but produces a better quality wine that tastes better. This also makes Twenty Twelve wines perfect for vegans!

    All these and other steps such as timing viticultural events to the lunar calendar, ensure very carefully produced quality wines. Purchase your bottles today through the Hard To Find Wines website, by clicking on the links below.

    Es Fangar
    Twenty Twelve Pink 2016
    £14.99

    A bottle of Twenty Twelve Pink 2016

    This unconventional rosé, blended from Callet, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot and Manto Negro, is crisp, dry and bursting with berries and spice. A clean and bright strawberry red colour. On the nose, fresh, red fruits through to red flowers with a mineral background on the finish. Once left to breathe, steeped fruits and spices emerge. The palate is fresh and fruity with good acidity, medium-bodied with red fruit notes, juicy, with a medium to long finish.

    Es Fangar
    Twenty Twelve White 2016
    £14.99

    A bottle of Twenty Twelve White 2016

    A floral explosion dominates this aromatic, dry aperitif, blended from Muscat, Viognier and Prensal. An attractive, pale yellow wine that is clean, bright and clear. On the nose, stone fruits, white flowers, honey and balsamic notes.  The spicy background of pink pepper and ginger notes contribute to the abundant array of aromatics. A fresh palate with very good acidity and ripe fruit followed by a sweet, long and generous aftertaste.

    Es Fangar
    Twenty Twelve Black 2016
    £14.99

    A bottle of Twenty Twelve Black 2016

    Berries dominate in this blend of Callet, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Gorgollasa and Manto Negro. An impressive cherry red colour with violet tones in this bright, medium depth wine. On the nose, are fruits with violets, black pepper, cloves, and Mediterranean forest aromatics, including thyme and rosemary. The palate is fresh and light, fruity and velvety smooth with ripe tannins and round with a lingering finish.

  • 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.

  • First XI Wines: Wines to Bowl You Over

    We took a trip recently to Rickety Bridge in Franschhoek, South Africa to meet Anya Grobler, the woman behind Infinity Wines. Anya introduced us to the First XI Wines and filled us in on the journey the team has taken in creating their wines.

    The story began in 2013. Four friends and legendary cricketing heroes, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers, Mike Hussey and Stephen Fleming enjoyed a meal together where they discussed a shared vision: to make a wine of excellent quality and craftsmanship.

    Faf introduced the cricketers to Infinity Wines which led to the creation of First XI Wines. All the First XI Wines are made at Rickety Bridge by winemaker Wynand Grobler. The first wine released as a result of this collaboration was the First XI The Belter 2014.

     

    Infinity Wines
    The First XI The Belter 2015
    £14.99

    A bottle of Infinity First XI Wine The Belter 2015

    Hard To Find Wines currently stocks The Belter 2015, a Rhone-style blend of Shiraz, Mourvèdre, Grenache, Cinsault, Tannat and Viognier. Silky soft on the palate with succulent tannins and notes of white pepper, red fruit, chocolate and cherry tobacco on the nose, the wine was matured in small French oak barrels for 15 months. All grapes used to make this wine were hand-picked. The Belter is a very accessible, good quality wine with good aging ability. Only 6,000 bottles were produced.

    Enjoy The Belter with ostrich or beef carpaccio, duck, venison and rump steak with pepper sauce.

    Infinity Wines
    The First XI The Partnership 2015
    £19.99

    A bottle of Infinity First XI The Partnership 2015

    The First XI The Partnership is the flagship of the First XI Wines. It is an intriguing, multi-dimensional, Bordeaux-style blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. It shows great concentration and length with pureness and focus on the palate. A red fruit driven wine with silky but present tannins shape, the wine spends 20 months in oak barrels. Only 4,000 bottles were produced.

    The Partnership pairs well with a slow roasted leg of lamb.

    Infinity Wines
    The First XI The Centurion 2015
    £35.00

    A bottle of Infinity First XI Wines The Centurion 2015

    The First XI The Centurion is a single varietal Cinsault, irresistible and well-balanced with bright, ruby-red hues. This wine is produced from old, unirrigated bushvines planted in 1954, selected for unique, prominent terroir flavours.  Only 10% of the wine was aged in older French oak barrels with the rest being stored in stainless steel tanks. The resulting wine presents aromas of cherry, red berry, white pepper and some spicy notes on the nose and savoury, spice and fruit flavours complimented by freshness and subtle oaking on the palate.

    An ideal pairing for The Centurion is roasted springbok or venison loin.

    Competition time!

    A photo of a cricket bat signed by South African cricketers Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers alongside a promotional wine container for First XI Wines

    In celebration of the arrival of First XI Wines in the UK, through Hard To Find Wines, for two weeks only, we have this fantastic prize up for grabs:

    1. a cricket bat signed by South African cricketers Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers
    2. a case of First XI Wines created by Faf and AB and the team at Infinity Wines.

    Enter our prize draw to stand a chance to win this super prize! Click here to enter online: https://gleam.io/cCqTI/hard-to-find-wines-first-xi-wines-competition or to enter through Facebook: https://gleam.io/fb/cCqTI.

    Prize draw open to UK residents only. You must be over 18 to enter. No purchase necessary. Prize draw closes Sunday, 15 April 2018. See full Terms and Conditions when you enter.

  • Le Lude Part 1: Where Mathematics & Mystique Meet

    Paul Gerber, winemaker at Le Lude, was teaching mathematics when he got married. “Within a few months of getting married, I convinced my wife to let me go and study oenology at Stellenbosch.”

    When he finished, he specialised in bottle-fermented sparkling wine and worked in Northern Italy, Champagne in France and Germany. On his return to South Africa he did an internship at Graham Beck. This is where he met Nic and Ferda Barrows in 2011.

    The Barrows bought a property in Franschhoek, and they had a very specific vision of creating a specialist Methode Cap Classique cellar. They offered Paul a job and the rest is history.

    Le Lude is a real family affair. The interiors are done by Ferda and the Barrow’s one daughter, Olga, an interior designer. Their other daughter, Nicolene, trained as a chef in Europe and worked in London at La Gavroche for two years before returning and opening Orangerie, the restaurant at Le Lude.

    The Le Lude Approach

    Paul takes a traditional approach to making sparkling wine and uses all the traditional cultivars, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier.  He says, “I don’t see Champagne or for that matter Cap Classique that comes from various areas losing terroir identity. It’s everything but: each component brings something specific to the blend and therein maintaining terroir. The bigger definition of terroir encompasses the philosophy from the region, from the winemaking family and that’s all so much more than just a piece of soil. I think terroir is much deeper than just the soil and we need to see it as this more complex matrix, together.”

    “For me the characteristics in Champagne and bottle-fermented sparkling wine are the length of the wine, the texture on the palate, the finesse and the elegance of the wine. It’s not a big wine. White wines, red wines, they’re the extroverts of the wine world. They give you a lot, whereas Champagne, there’s a bit of mystique there. The nose gives you complexity, but it’s not an exuberant aroma. And the same on the palate. It should start softly and build and that complexity is built with many fine layers. Almost like little pieces of rice paper, that together make something big and full but on their own as they lift up they pull away easily. That is how we see this style of wine.”

    A photo of the view of Franschhoek and vineyards from Le Lude

    Paul told us about how his background in mathematics has influenced his approach to producing Le Lude’s wines. “Cap Classique is a process driven wine and in some way mathematics is process driven. It’s about solving problems, having a systematic approach to doing that. These wines love that. It’s not just about ticking the boxes, it’s about ticking the little boxes in between those boxes. Every decision you make in the vineyard, every decision in the winery has an impact on the bubble that’s going to rise in the glass one day. If you keep that in mind, it means that you look at the wine completely differently when going through the process.”

    When asked about the difference between Champagne and South African MCC, Paul said, “With South African Cap Classique, you should taste the ripeness and fullness. This gives the wine texture and persistence but at the same time it remains elegant with finesse.”

    “Pieter Ferreira of Graham Beck says you can taste the sun in the fruit. You taste the ripeness in the Pinot Noir and the Chardonnay in South African grapes but you still want the finesse of the wine. That’s the characteristics that we see as important for Champagne: finesse, elegance, length. And we want to have all of those ripe fruit characters because that’s our terroir. In Champagne you’re going to have fresh lemon, lime, fresh zesty character. Here you’re going to have a little bit more lemon meringue, or creamy lemon tart. So you are still going to have that ripe, rich flavour, but it’s just that little bit riper.”

    Non-vintage Wines

    Le Lude Brut NV

    A bottle of Le Lude Brut

    The Brut is a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The idea behind the Brut is to highlight the character of the Chardonnay. A little Pinot Noir is added to give a bit of width and density to the palate.

    Tasting notes: elegant citrus blossoms with fresh lime aromas and secondary aromas of nougat, roasted nuts and hints of proving dough. Bright, fresh and elegant palate entry. Aromas of grapefruit, ripe lemon and pear forms a structured mid-palate. The mousse shows finesse and texture with a restrained presence. Length develops delicately on the palate with fine tertiary aromas of caramelised honey, vanilla and dried fig.

    Le Lude Rose NV

    A bottle of Le Lude Rose

    The Brut Rose is to display the character of the Pinot Noir. Paul uses a little Chardonnay in the blend for brightness. The Rose is bigger, fuller, softer and a little more robust than the Brut. It is drier than normal Cap Classique rose but it has a lot of strawberries and cream and raspberry notes on the wine without the weight.

    Tasting notes: ripe cherries, red lollipop and raspberry aromas provide a delicate profile to the wine. These are followed by some hints of grapefruit and wild rose. The palate opens with a voluptuous texture supported by elegant acidity. Initially fresh red berries, wild plum and spice. The length and richness of the palate develops a complexity with raspberry compote and hints of blueberries and aniseed.

    Vintage wines

    Le Lude’s first vintage wines were blended in 2012. All vintage wines are the premium selection of the tanks and from the outset the idea was to mature them for at least five years.

    “The agreement has always been the wines are ready to drink today but must show the potential to age. When we blend, we focus on that because I want to be able to sell you a bottle of non-vintage brut and tell you, you can drink this in three years’ time,” said Paul.

    “The vintage wines have been matured but taste pristine so we know we can say for at least the next five years this wine going to mature beautifully. So then you have a wine that’s ten or twelve years old.”

    Le Lude’s first Blanc de Blanc was harvested in 2015. It took three years and nearly four harvests before Paul decided which blocks to use. “This will become Le Lude’s flagship wine and the benchmark for everything we do at Le Lude. But it’s only for release in 2022.”

    Pairing Le Lude Wines

    Sparkling wine is very versatile when paired with food and Le Lude’s wines are no different.

    Paul told us, “Now that we have the vintage wines, we are going to start doing wine dinners. We have seven wines now that you can serve right throughout the dinner; so six courses plus aperitif. This will be a unique experience to show different styles and how they work with different foods yet are not completely dominated.”

    A Photo of pink roses at Le Lude

    The future

    Sparkling wine is becoming very popular due its versatility and often times more affordable alternatives to Champagne such as MCC.

    “The fact that people are drinking a lot more bottle-fermented sparkling wine is fantastic. It’s good for business but it means all of us need to improve our game, improve the quality that we’re producing. It’s the one thing at Le Lude we keep questioning: how can we do something better? What can create a better experience for our guests?” said Paul.

    “And you don’t want to say at any point to yourself, this is good. I think the day that you say that about your own wine, it’s dangerous. I like the idea of thinking there’s always something that I can improve.”


    Keep an eye on our blog, and look out for Le Lude - Part 2 where you will learn more about the beautiful Le Lude, their wonderful restaurant Orangerie, and Lily Pond House, the perfect getaway to include in your next trip to Franschhoek.

     

  • 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

  • Stony Brook - the history and the wines

    The Stony Brook story starts in the late 1980s when the McNaught family fell in love with Franschhoek and purchased a piece of land with a plan to create premium-quality wines reflecting the area and the styles of wine they most enjoyed. In 1995, the McNaughts sold their first farm and purchased an old fruit farm, now called Stony Brook.

    The McNaughts replanted the farm to vines and built a small cellar. Their focus was on Cabernet Sauvignon, Semillon and Chardonnay and they began to produce the first wines under the Stony Brook label.

    By 2011, Craig McNaught joined his parents at Stony Brook and took over as winemaker.

    The farm is peaceful and quiet, tucked away in the bo-hoek region of Franschhoek. "It's a magic little area," said Craig when we caught up with him recently.

    Philosophy

    Stony Brook maintains an old world winemaking philosophy.

    "I think we're old world at heart, very much old world at heart, taking a lot of inspiration from specifically Spain and Italy in terms of winemaking. Our SA climate is much more like Spain or Southern Italy than France."

    "While our approach to winemaking is traditional, our outlook on planting and assemblage is an exploratory one, allowing us to find a unique way to express our soils, climate and remarkable site in Franschhoek. We take the best of what we can plant and we plant it. We handle all the grapes with a lot of respect. We're just trying to make age-worthy wines."

    Stony Brook's latest development has been the introduction of Tempranillo vines. The result is their critically-acclaimed wine, Ovidius, created with Tempranillo alone and a real delight to drink.

    A photo of the ghost gum tree at Stony Brook from which the Ghost Gum range takes its name

    The Ghost Gum at Stony Brook from where the Ghost Gum range takes its name

    Wines

    Stony Brook produces a wide range of low volume wines.

    Their red wines are not very fruit driven, unlike what you would expect from many SA reds. This is largely due to the maturation process. Craig's winemaking style is more Italian, a little more rustic. All varieties spend at least 28 months in barrel but the oak is not there to add flavour. It purely adds structure. To maintain the character of the wine, sulphur is only added after a year.

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