03 March 2019

Le Vin de Francois 2017 Launched at Auction

Le Vin de François 2017 was launched last night at auction. The location of the annual auction is a secret with not even owner-winemaker François Naudé Snr knowing where his transport will take him.

Our car hurtled away from the winelands along the N2 into the heart of Cape Town and stopped by a red carpet where we were greeted by a stilt walker, clown and ring master who showed us to Zip Zap Circus’s Big Top.
Francois Jr and Melissa show how to take entrance tickets

There we took our entrance ticket, in the form of canapes on spoons held by hands sticking out through holes in a screen and were greeted by organisers Melissa Naudé and François Naudé Jnr.

Under a tent roof outside Champagne Soutinard was being generously poured and works of art inspired by the winelands were on display with their creators to discuss them. These works would form part of some lots in the auction to follow with proceeds going to support the school they attended.
Francois Naude

At dinner in the Big Top, François Naudé Snr quoted the head of industry body Vinpro who said that 2017 was an ‘exceptional vintage’. The rating of exceptional was itself exceptional, said François, when good and very good were usually the highest praise.

François said his Vin de François 2017 echoed the excellent 2015 vintage in that it had ‘complexity, intensity and drinkability’.

2017 was hot and dry with cooler nights, said François. The absence of heatwaves obviated the effects of drought and vines produced healthy grapes which were small with intensity of flavour.

2017 Vin de François is a blend of barrels sourced from Beyerskloof, Delheim, Grangehurst (for the first time) , Kanonkop, Lanzerac, L’Avenir, Rijks and Simonsig.
Main course: Slow roast lamb with dates, cashew nuts  & rosemary, wrapped in crispy phyllo, served on crushed buttery potatoes, pumpkin fritters and a melange of vegetables.

This wine accompanied the main course. It was rich, with lush Pinotage sweetness and an intensity of flavour. Great drinking now, but François promised that aging it would reward those who could wait.

Enjoying Vin de Francois 2017

The first course was paired with various white wines, including Beyerskloof’s Chenin Pinotage blend. With after-dinner treats, served outside, was pot stilled brandy and cigars.
Circus entertainment during dinner

The auction price paid for a bottle of 2017 was around 1,000R, with larger lots winning bids at a lower unit price. The smallest lot was 12 bottles, the largest 48 bottles. Some lots included magnums and larger formats and some included art works. The auctioneer was Joey Burke.

Vin de François comes in beautifully designed boxes. The lids are closed with two wing nuts, easy opening and closing.

Ah, but how do you stack them?

How about this. Two holes in the bottom align with wingnuts on box below, and bottles in box leave space.

There are also some clear soft pads stuck on the bottom of the boxes so wood doesn’t rest on wood. And the boxes cannot slide off because they are anchored with wingnuts anchored in the box above. 
Wood is solid and good quality with proper joints sand-papered smooth. The upper hand holds slope upwards inside for easy handling.

A wingnut is the logo of Vin de François.

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