30 April 2014

WOTM - Le Vin de Francois 2010

My wine on the month for April is Le Vin de Francois 2010 that I had several times when lunching at Delheim Winery  during my recent stay in the Cape.

It's the wine of Francois Naude, made from barrels he's selected from seven top Pnotage wineries to blend together into a superb example of Pinotage.

Francois Naude made his name at L'Avenir Estate. While her he won the Pinotage Top 10 Competition more times than anyone else.

His retirement didn't last long: soon he was consulting at wineries and then creating his own wine from the best barrels he encountered. The wine is sold at an annual auction. The only other way to get hold of a bottle is from a reseller and Delheim -- which regularly supply barrels -- had a few bottles for sale in their tasting room which I was delighted to buy.

The label might not be informative, but the bottle comes wrapped in an A3 sheet of paper, see below, which details this wine and the various wines and wineries that supplied the barrels.

Informative wrapper around bottle
This wine is 100% Pinotage, a blend of  two barrels from  Beyerskloof (winemaker Anri Truter), Kanonkop (Abrie Beeslaar ), Lanzerac (Wynand Lategan), and one each from Delheim (Brenda van Niekerk), L'Avenir (Tinus Els), Simonsig (Johan Malan), and Wildekrans ( William Wilkinson). Widekrans is in Bot River, the others are Stellenbosch. 
I love Francois' wines, he is a consummate master of Pinotage and this wine is a revelation. It was probably not doing it justice to drink it so young, but I couldn't resist, and I couldn't take them all home. Paired with Delheim's Garden Restaurant Cape Malay curry this wine danced on my tongue. There's so much depth of flavour with dark plums to the fore and a long lingering finish. Gorgeous stuff. Not cheap, but worth every penny.

04 April 2014

All Change at L'Avenir

It’s all change at L’Avenir. The dark brown labels with African pictographs which were introduced in 1995 have been replaced with a clean modern-looking label which is an updating of L’Avenir’s original label showing rows of vines leading to the winery.

The new labels cover three tiers of wine. The entry level wines under the ‘Far & Near’ branding are priced at the cellar door from 50-55 Rand and use grapes sourced from outside the farm.

The top two ranges once again are ‘Estate’ Wine of Origin.

The mid-range wines are priced from 90-120 Rand. The premium range are registered Single Vineyards, and priced at R180 for the Single Block Chenin Blanc 2012 and R300 for the Single Block Pinotage 2012.

These bottles are individually numbered and signed by wine maker Dirk Coetzee. In another acknowledgement of the past, the bottles are dedicated to Francois Naudé, Lavenir’s winemaker and viticulturist from its beginning until his retirement after the estate was purchased by the French wine company Laroche.

The estate vineyards have produced exceptional wines over the years — at the time of his retirement Francois Naudé had won the Pinotage Top 10 Competition more times than anyone else — and it is good to have the Estate certification to again confirm the source of the wine.

Even better for those who like to drink a wine with a sense of place and terroir is the single vineyard registration of these blocks. Their labels are based on a satellite image of the vineyard with the named block highlighted in gold.

The Estate Pinotage 2012 is wonderfully exciting now, lively and giving real pleasure. It’s a wine that made me stop and say ‘wow’. Could keep but I’m enjoying it too much to wait.
Block 02 Pinotage 2012 is a taut, powerful, intense yet restrained wine. I’m keeping mine for a several years because I think this is going to develop into a real humdinger.