Interview with the winemaker – Mark Le Roux

Wine Maker’s Name: Mark Le Roux

Winery: Waterford

Nestled in the picturesque Blaauwklippen Valley, in the world renowned Stellenbosch Region, this 120 hectare property boasts citrus groves, rolling lawns, water features and fragrant lavender beds. The Waterford Way is a philosophy that honors prosperity, celebrates life, food and wine, and loves family and friends with passion. Each vintage pays tribute to the families who make these wines, by bearing the name of a family member on the Jem (named after the owner of the estate, Jeremy Ord) and the Kevin Arnold Shiraz.

Mark Le RouxHow many years have you been making wine and how long have you been at Waterford?

My first vintage of winemaking was in 2007. My first involvement with Waterford was during my studies at Stellenbosch university, I did my viticultural practical over the 2005 summer months.
 

Tell us about your early days in the vineyards, your education and how you started your career.

I studied a BScAgric (Oenology and Viticulture) at Stellenbosch university, a 4 year degree. My father was born and bred in Stellenbosch, so I spent a lot of time as a youngster in the winelands. My father studied forestry and I think that’s where the initial love for the outdoors and nature started. The challenge of linking the soils and environment to specific cultivars and then to produce representing wine thereof is the rush I live for. I joined the winemaking team at Waterford in 2009 and later took over winemaking production with 2013 being my first vintage.

How Involved in the viticulture aspect of wine production are you? Is there a particular vineyard site that constantly produces top fruit year after year?

The vineyards is where it all starts, it takes 6 months to grow and develop the grapes, this is where all the crucial flavour precursors and tannins are formed. I spend a great deal of time in the vineyard working alongside the viticulturist, my best friend, since 2014 season. The understanding we have allows us to take big steps toward creating super wines. Waterfords sites are incredibly unique, this makes it possible to have 11 different red varietals on the Estate, driven by Cabernet Sauvignon. There are most definitely vineyards producing top fruit year after year. Watch the Library collection label for upcoming single vineyard wines coming from these sites in limited quantities. Our Chardonnay planted in 1988 is spectacular to work with and then there are 3 very special sites of Cabernet Sauvignon as well as 2 sites of great Shiraz. And then even a vineyard of Cabernet franc surprises, just bottled 900 bottles of this, 2015 vintage.

What do you like to drink after a long day of winemaking or any other time you want to kick back and relax?

A great G&T or Pale Ale craft beer 🙂

What standouts releases should we be looking for this year? Describe:

Jem 2011, recently released but it’s a cracker, I really do think we are on to something special here. One of my top Jem’s to date.

Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 – Way before its time, but what a great Helderberg Cab. No mistake to invest in this wine.

Library Grenache blanc 2015 – very limited quantities but love the grape fruit texture of this wine.

Estate Grenache Noir 2015 – Its taken us 7 years of making this wine before getting one into bottle, I think this is a “watch this space” wine going forward in the future. Super site for Grenache Noir.

Chardonnay 2015 – Beautiful, this vintage created solid tight structured wines, this Chard is going to be beautiful with some age.

IMG_1737What is the difference between a good and great wine?

A good wine is a wine you show off with your friends, a great wine is one you keep for yourself because its not worth sharing.

I always believe a great wine is a wine which excites from the first sip to the last, as well as having the ability to impress the following day. A wine which can stand overnight and again impress, for me is a good indication of a wine which is naturally stable.

If you weren’t a winemaker what would you be and why?

I initially wanted to study veterinary, but the surgery side freaked me out a little. I have a love for animals, and more so to see them out in the open. We have a family farm in the karoo which I visit every year, and to just walk through the karoo fynbos (vegetation) and watch all the animals around you is very refreshing for the soul.

What three words best describe your winery?

Passion. Enjoyment. Precision

 

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Winemaker of the Year: Andrea Mullineux

andrea-mullineux-1-700x461

A winemaker who started a revolution

It’s not easy to challenge conventional wisdom or rejuvenate the reputation of a centuries-old winemaking region. But by employing the vision to craft exemplary wines and elevate Swartland, her adopted home region in South Africa, that’s exactly what Andrea Mullineux did.

Growing up in California, Mullineux wanted to be a winemaker. After she studied at University of California, Davis, and worked various winery jobs in Napa Valley, she headed to South Africa on her first overseas internship to learn more about Chenin Blanc. A stint in Châteauneuf-du-Pape followed.
Little did Mullineux know how those travels would shape the rest of her life.

While she worked in France, she fell in love with both the traditional Rhône varieties she would come to focus on, and her future husband, South African-born Chris Mullineux. They met on an excursion to Champagne while visiting a mutual friend. They moved to South Africa to take on the wine world together.

After an initial stint at Tulbagh Mountain Vineyards, where the couple worked with several Swartland winegrowers and saw the region’s tremendous potential, they opened Mullineux Family Wines in 2007. Their intent was to focus on the varieties they felt did best in the Swartland: Syrah and Chenin Blanc.

While Chris employed biodynamic techniques in the vineyards, Andrea took the reins in the winery. Through minimal intervention, she seeks to highlight the uniqueness of Swartland soils in bottlings appropriately labeled Granite, Schist, Iron and Quartz.

“I want to make honest wines that are representative of where they are from, but also have the common thread of quality running through them,” says Andrea.

Seeking to raise the profile of the region, the couple teamed up with fellow winemakers Adi Badenhorst, Callie Louw and Eben Sadie in 2010 as members of the Swartland Independent Producers (SIP) organization to start The Swartland Revolution, a symposium and festival that celebrated the appellation’s wines.

“It was clear to us that most people still considered the region one for bulk-wine production, and we wanted those people to come out and see for themselves,” says Andrea.

The following five iterations sold out within minutes, and Andrea rose to celebrity status among savvy wine consumers. The event has since expanded to celebrate the larger SIP group. Meanwhile, her wines garnered international attention and demand.

“Andrea is one of the most focussed and precise winemakers that I know,” says Badenhorst. “She has a clear understanding of the type of wine she wants to make, and the quality of fruit that is required to do this.”

In just nine years, Mullineux (the brand) has become widely recognized as a benchmark producer, earning critical acclaim and mass appeal. Today, Andrea is responsible for the winery’s array of bottlings, from the entry-level Kloof Street selections to the core Mullineux lineup and its Single Terroir Range.

“Andrea’s due diligence and attention to detail have made her an excellent winemaker and interpreter of terroir,” says importer Fran Kysela, MS, of Kysela Père et Fils.

Mullineux is also a member of the prestigious Cape Winemakers Guild, where she’s one of just two active female members.

Not one to rest on her laurels, Mullineux is always looking for new and creative wine projects.

In 2011, she started Fog Monster wines in California, which aims to highlight the coastal fog’s influence on the state’s viticulture.

Even bigger moves came in 2013, when a new partner, Analjit Singh, joined the team. Together, as Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines, their new Franschhoek-based brand is scheduled to launch at the end of this year.

For her outstanding wines, collaborative efforts to revolutionize a region and constant drive to be a better winemaker, Wine Enthusiast recognizes Andrea Mullineux as its 2016 Winemaker of the Year. —Lauren Buzzeo

 

Source: Wine Enthusiast

Oaking Wine

Oaking Wine: What’s it all about?

From the golden hued Chardonnays of Montrachet to first-growth Bordeaux; the most expensive wines in the world are produced with oak aging. This isn’t an opinion, it’s true. The top fifty most expensive wines in the world oak-age their wines in some way. Oak is a crucial and often overlooked component of the wine world. Everything from the type, size, age, grain and treatment of an oak barrel greatly affects the finished wine.

We like to think of a winemaker using oak as a chef would use salt, you use a little or a lot to either just slightly bring out other flavors, or to have the oak’s own characteristics play a more prominent role. However, just as a chef can use too much salt in a dish, so too can a winemaker use too much oak in a wine. Oak can enhance the color of the wine, soften and round out flavors, and impart its own unique characteristics. Almost all red wines and many white wines spend time in oak barrels before being bottled.

oak-barrel-and-flavor-smallThe characteristics that an oak barrel gives to a wine come from the barrel itself—it isn’t previously infused with any other products. The intensity of a barrel’s impact on a wine depends on the type of oak tree it hailed from, the drying process of the wood, and how toasted the inside of the barrel was. (A more heavily toasted barrel will have stronger flavors of spice and smoke, for example.) Even so-called “neutral” barrels are sometimes used—that is, barrels that are about 3 or 4 years old and have lost their potency—but they can still add texture, making a wine seem more rich and creamy.

The phenols in the barrel interact with the wine inside, and depending on a whole multitude of variables, including what kind of grapes are used, the flavors of the wine combine with the flavors imparted from the barrel, and you start getting some of those vanilla, coffee, mocha, butter, or caramel notes. And if a winemaker chooses to ferment a wine in barrel (and not just age it), the yeasts themselves interact with the flavor components, resulting in even more influence.

A barrel essentially does two things: it allows a very slow introduction of oxygen into the wine; and it imparts the character of the wood into the wine. This diminishes as a barrel gets older. You usually get 50% of the extract that a barrel has on the first use, 25% the second and less after that.

Try our Fine Oaked Wine Selection With 15% Off ! Use the coupon OAK15.

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photo credit: garyandwine.com
sources: vinepair.com winefolly.com winespectator.com fs.fed.us

Interview with the winemaker – Carl Schultz

Wine Maker’s Name: Carl Schultz

Winery: Hartenberg

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Deep in the heart of  Stellenbosch lies the magnificent Hartenberg winery, claiming its name from the Afrikaans translation – “heart of the mountain”.  The winery spans across 150 hectares (of which two thirds are under vine) and boasts nine different soil types. Each grape variety is planted in its own perfect location, and along with a very specific micro climate, is able to produce some very special wines.

Carl Schultz joined Hartenberg Estate as Winemaker in 1994. In 1996 Carl was appointed as a Director of the Estate and invited that year to join the Cape Winemakers Guild. This year Carl Schultz celebrated 23 years at renowned Stellenbosch farm Hartenberg and wears the mantle of “elder statesman” well. He is probably best known for his Shiraz – he makes no fewer than four versions of this variety – but his other wines are all more than proficient. His wines consistently achieve top accolades from established wine competitions both local and international.

How many years have you been making wine and how long have you been at Hartenberg?

I’ve been making wine for 27 years now. I graduated as Dux student in 1988 from Elsenburg and joined Hartenberg Estate as Winemaker in 1994. So it’s my 23 anniversary at Hartenberg Estate.

Tell us about your early days in the vineyards, your education and how you started your career.

My father was a teaching biologist, so ‘all things plants’ held an early fascination. I was happy to work with any plant, in my case – the vine. No wonder I entered Elsenburg College, Stellenbosch to study Viticulture and Oenology. After graduation I worked at Simonsig Estate three years as winemaker, and later joined Hartenberg where I spent my first four years managing both vineyards and cellar.

Who were your wine mentors?

Ken Mackenzie was and is a huge inspiration to me. He was a very successful businessman who had the knack of engaging and communicating with people from all walks of life, at all levels of society. He was a very humble, wise and kind person – attributes that I strive for in my journey through life. Here I also need to mention marvelous Johan Malan at Simonsig Estate, and internationally acclaimed consultant Alberto Antonini.

Describe your philosophy/approach to making wines.

Hands on and precision viticulture coupled to a hands-off, natural approach in the cellar, but doing the right things at the right time.

How Involved in the viticulture aspect of wine production are you? Is there a particular vineyard site that constantly produces top fruit year after year?

I am very involved, as Director of Production I determine the viticultural strategy and direction that we follow. I have viticulturist, Wilhelm Joubert reporting directly to me. Together we plan the weekly operational program. Here at Hartenberg we have a number of unique sites, making single vineyard wines (four in total). But one stands out – The Gravel Hill Shiraz. I have made 23 vintages of this flagship site, and it is, without doubt, one of the greatest viticultural sites in South Africa.

How has your palate evolved over the years? How do you think it’s influenced you?

Of course! Initially it was the superficial, the upfront, jump out of the glass aromatics and flavors that grab a young palate. Today I think my palate has mellowed, now looking for the less than obvious, the hidden nuances.

What’s your favorite wine region in the world — other than your own?

Without hesitation – Alsace, France: incredibly scenic, producing some of the best Riesling and Gewurtztraminer on earth, bordered by the majestic Vosges mountains to the west and the Rhine River to the east. The many villages are perfectly preserved and date back to the 14th century. Perfection!

What standouts releases should we be looking for this year? 

I am thrilled about the new release of our single vineyard, high-end, opulent, rich, sweet fruited and powerful Shiraz – the 2012 Stork. Another wine I want to mention is our flagship red blend – The Mackenzie 2012. This silky, suave, beautifully polished red Cabernet based, Meritage blend is our limited volume release. Not forgetting the two Chardonnays we do – the 2014 Estate Chard and of course our white flagship, The Eleanor 2014 Chardonnay.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I am an avid whitewater, extreme kayaker – do like them waterfalls! It’s a rush. It’s physically demanding and requires your undivided attention. And you get to spend time in some really beautiful and remote places. I have been fortunate to have kayaked in Europe as well as in South America (Chile and Argentina)

What three words best describe your winery?

Precision, Passion and Tenacity

Welcome Hartenberg With 15% Off All Their Wines! Use the coupon HART15.

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Upgrade Your Barbecue: The South African Braai

Upgrade Your Barbecue: The South African Braai

Much like barbecue in the U.S., braai (rhymes with fry) in South Africa is something akin to religion. It’s not just about what you braai, it’s about how you braai, when you braai, where you braai and with whom you braai. And don’t forget the wine. South Africa’s wide variety of wines mixes and matches perfectly with the various dishes.

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burgersBeef Sliders

1 pound ground beef
1 onion, finely chopped
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 egg
1 tablespoon hot English mustard
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
12 thick slices of mozzarella cheese
12 soft small rolls
24 fresh basil or arugula leaves
3 medium tomatoes, sliced
4 large gherkin pickles, sliced lengthwise

Mix together beef, onion, breadcrumbs, parsley, egg, mustard, salt and pepper. Form 12 patties, and grill to desired doneness. Melt slice of mozzarella on each patty. Halve rolls and lightly toast on grill. To serve, place patty on rolls. Top with 2 basil or arugula leaves and one slice each of tomato and gherkin. Makes 12 sliders.

WINE PAIRING SUGGESTION: RAKA – Quinary (Bordeaux-style), 2012

 

The Hot Bird (Chicken with Peri-Peri Sauce)

1 medium onion, sliced
15 long red chilies, deseeded and chopped
4 red bell peppers, deseeded and chopped
1/3 cup, plus 4 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 baby chickens, about 1¼ pounds each, spatchcocked (split open to prepare for grilling)
2 lemons
6 large figs (Adam variety, if available), halved

For peri peri sauce: In medium-sized pan over medium heat, sweat onion, chilies and red peppers for 10–15 minutes. Deglaze pan with the red wine vinegar. Add smoked paprika. Simmer for 20 minutes, then blend until smooth.

Place chickens in container. Rub with peri peri sauce (reserve some for serving) and refrigerate overnight.

Braai on grill over medium heat. Cook for 15 minutes, turning every 5 minutes. Squeeze lemon juice over chickens. Cook for another 15 minutes. Grill figs for 5 minutes, and serve with chicken.

WINE PAIRING SUGGESTION: La Vierge – Pinot Noir, 2011

 

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recipe source www.winemag.com

Interview with the winemaker – Wilhelm Pienaar

Wine Maker’s Name: Wilhelm Pienaar

Winery: Hermanuspietersfontein

This  impossibly hard to pronounce name originates from the founder of Hermanus, Hermanus Pieters, who, in 1855, helped take a little fisherman’s village and turn it into the town it is today. All Hermanuspietersfontein wines also have ‘proudly local’ Afrikaans names; not to mention many prestigious awards too! We had a chance to interview the new Hermanuspietersfontein cellar-master Wilhelm Pienaar – the son of Wouter Pienaar, a prominent South African winemaker whose wines, now 30 and 40 years’ old, are still eliciting awe for their grace and vitality.

Why did you become a winemaker?

I took a gap year after school and found myself working in a Wine Importer’s warehouse in Denmark. There I fell in love with wines from all over the world and the rest is history!

How many years have you been making wine and how long have you been at Hermanuspietersfontein?

This (2016) would have been my 15th vintage and my 2nd at Hermanuspietersfontein.

Tell us about your early days in the vineyards, your education and how you started your career.

My father is also a winemaker. He was very surprised the day I announced that I want to follow in his footsteps. Subsequently, I have completed three degrees relating to viticulture and oenology, the last being a Masters Degree in France.

What is the most difficult aspect of making wine?

I would have to say the unpredictability of every vintage – but it is also quite exciting at the same time.

How do you know when you’ve got a good vintage?

For the style of wine we produce at Hermanuspietersfontein we are looking for specific things like natural acidity and minerality that define our wines. However, I am not a great fan of “claiming” good vintages. There are too many variables that people often forget about. The wine, over time, will speak for itself.

What is your favorite wine that you’ve made and what makes it your favorite?

Currently, I am enjoying our Swartskaap – a 100% Cabernet franc. It is a challenging grape to work with, yet the reward is satisfying when you “get it right”.

What foods do you like to pair with your wines? (Be specific to the varietal or blends you produce.)

Our white wines (mainly Sauvignon blanc and Semillon) have great longevity and age-ability. Therefore they portray balanced and elegant profiles. These wines should not be over-powered by strong foods. Therefore shellfish and seafood dishes pairs well with the natural acidity of these wines.

Our Rhone-style blends (Die Martha and Skoonma) are dominated by Shiraz, with dollops of Mourvedre, Grenache and Viognier. These wines are smooth and textured, thus they pair well with spicy (sweet and mild) foods.

Our Bordeaux-style wines (Die Arnoldus and Kleinboet) are dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with small percentages of Cabernet franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. These wines are bolder in structure, therefore needs to be paired with foods that can stand alongside them, e.g. stews, lamb, veal, game, beef.

What other regions outside of South Africa influence your wine making style? Who inspired you the most?

Definitely France (but Europe in general). Having spent three important years of my life there, it has given me a broad perspective on what is possible in the vineyards and cellar.

Areas that I am particularly fond of include:

  • Champagne – I love bubbles! (started my career as a junior winemaker in a cellar that focuses on bottle fermented sparkling wines)
  • The Loire Valley – strong affinity to Cabernet franc and Sauvignon blanc (two important varieties at Hermanuspietersfontein)
  • The Rhone Valley – for its intrigue…
  • Sondagskloof – our very own specific piece of earth! It is challenging, yet exciting to come to terms with its distinctiveness.

When you look at the history of winemaking in South Africa, where has it been and where do you see it going?

I think South African wine fraternity finds itself at a very exciting and healthy position currently. There are plenty of innovation and exploration taking place, while at the same time the known and established producers are setting the standard.

If you weren’t making wine for a living, what would you be doing? 

Tough question – but probably still something that tickles the sense. A chef perhaps or a writer? I am very glad I chose (or did it choose me?) winemaking. I will make the same decision a 1000 times over!

Welcome Hermanuspietersfontein With 15% Off All Their Wines! Use the coupon HPF15.

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Interview With The Winemaker – Anri Truter

Wine Maker’s Name: Anri Truter

Winery: Beyerskloof

Beyerskloof winery, the charming family-run farm that rests in the bosom of the Cape Winelands, is the quintessential king of Pinotage. It was established in 1988 by Beyers Truter known as “Mr. Pinotage” and four ardent wine lovers with one ideal in mind: to produce a wine of exceptional character. Today we chatted to Anri Truter, who represents the second generation of Beyerskloof winemakers, about his career at this iconic South African winery.

How many years have you been making wine and how long have you been at Beyerskloof?

I’ve been making wine for 12 years and have been with Beyerskloof for 10 years now. 

Tell us about your early days in the vineyards, your education and how you started your career.

I grew up on a wine farm so I have literally been around wine my whole life. I think that also helped me to build up a passion for wine over the years. We all know if you don¹t have a passion for vineyards and wine you won’t make it in our industry!

I studied at Elsenburg agricultural college where I obtained my degree in wine and viticulture in 2005. After that I did a harvest at Swartland cellar and worked in Portugal at Quinta Nova for a short while.

Describe your philosophy/approach to making wines.

I feel you have to do the basics well. It¹s the same with any sport. You have to first do the basics well,  and then you try new moves or tricks (or in my case new experiments!)

Are there any new winemaking techniques or tools you’d like to experiment with?

I will like to see how I can eliminate as much greenness (stems/unripe berries, ext) as possible while destemming.

Favorite music to jam to during harvest?

Mumford and sons and Live.

What standouts releases should we be looking for this year? Describe:

Diesel Pinotage 2014, – it’s a wine with complex fruit, big structure and great balance, but it is still a bit young at the moment. Faith 2012, big middle, great balance between the new oak and fruit with a long aftertaste.

What do you like to drink after a long day of winemaking or any other time you want to kick back and relax?

A chilled glass of Pinotage or if I can get my hands on it – a Pinot Noir from Burgundy!

If you weren’t a winemaker what would you be and why?

A game ranger because I always had a love for nature and the African bush.

What would people be surprised to know about you? 

I mistakenly chased away Bill Clinton when he tried to visit Kanonkop (The wine farm I grew up on), not realizing who he was at the time.

What three words best describe your winery?

Pinotage. Quality. Value.

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Interview with Kara van Niekerk

Interview with the Co-Founder of Cape Ardor Kara van Niekerk


In anticipation of Mother’s Day we were excited to chat with new mom and Co-Founder of Cape Ardor – Kara van Niekerk, who is now in South Africa picking some delicious wines for Cape Ardor, and looking into new partnerships with some highly-awarded wineries.

How was your transition from being ‘mother to Cape Ardor’ to ‘mother of a 5 month old’?

It was actually quite smooth. To be honest, both jobs are similar in their own way. Cape Ardor was our first baby, and especially in the early years we worked around-the-clock building our business (little did we know that the wine industry is so competitive, and good South African wine was nowhere on the map in the US). My experience with the birth of my daughter and the last 5 months have been equally tough, but extremely rewarding.

So you’re in South Africa and will spend Mothers Day day there. Can you say that this trip to SA was mostly for business or pleasure (or both)?

A little bit of both actually. We’re introducing our ‘new addition’ to family and friends, while launching a new exciting app that will hugely benefit the South African wine industry. We’re also shopping for some unique hard-to-find new wines for our wine clubs! It’s been fun getting all the local recommendations of what’s hot right now in the wine market. Watch this space!

How do you plan to spend your first Mother’s Day?

Well, we’ve been traveling quite a bit through the different wine regions (which gets interesting with a baby). Luckily we’ve had my mom to help get us to appointments on time! So, for my first Mother’s Day, I’m looking forward to relaxing, perhaps on the lawn of Haute Cabriere looking over the Franschhoek mountains, while drinking a bottle of their finest bubbly!

What would be the ideal wine to drink on Mother’s Day? What is your favorite food pairing for this wine?

We’re having a heat spell in South Africa at the moment, so I’m really enjoying rose’s and lean white wines. I can’t get enough of this Delheim Pinotage rose , it’s light and floral with a lovely acidity. I can literally drink the whole bottle. The South African’s really know how to make beautiful white blends and unwooded chardonnays, and I’m crushing on La Petite Ferme’s ‘Baboon Rock’ Unwooded Chardonnay. It drinks like a fruity Sauv Blanc. Light fare is typically what you crave in this hot weather, so fresh salad, smoked trout and peppered chevre cheese with a home-made rye is perfect for these wines.

As a mom and a wine connoisseur what wine would you give to your mom and other mothers out there?

You’re going to think I’m being silly, but moms still like to feel sexy! A dark, luxurious red is a beautiful gift. The Vilafonte Series C 2012 is in a class of its own. It’s a gorgeous wine that’s highly rated, dark, fruity and utterly smooth.

As women we also know what we like, so a gift certificate is a great idea to guarantee no disappointments!

You mentioned new wines you’ve tasted and new wineries you’ve visited. Give us a sneak peak on the new things to expect when you come back?

We’ve found some really exciting new wineries. For example, we stumbled upon a winery called Eisen and Viljoen who only make two wines– a Bordeaux red blend and a Provence-style rose which are out-of-this-world good. It’s very limited though (12 barrels per wine). I’d love to share the news of who we are bringing on next, but you’ll just have to wait and see. Mums the word!

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Vin de Constance 2012: One of the best

Vin de Constance 2012: One of the best

This week sees the international launch of the latest vintage of Klein Constantia’s sweet Vin de Constance. Decanter’s content director, John Stimpfig, got a sneak preview…
Klein Constantia Vin de Constance
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Significantly, the Vin de Constance 2012 is the first 100% solo vintage produced under the ownership of Charles Harman and Zdenek Bakala who bought the famous Constantia property from the Jooste family in January 2011.

Having tasted the new release in both the Cape in 2015 and in Germany earlier this year, my view is that the 2012 Vin de Constance is certainly one of its best in the modern era. It is certainly a clear step up in quality on the impressive 2011.

In the last five years, there has been a major investment programme at the legendary estate which is clearly bearing fruit. 2012 was also the first vintage in which Winemaker Matt Day was able to make the wine in its new custom-built winery.

Day has also made some important changes in the way in which the wine was harvested and aged. ‘When I first started here in 2007, we used to harvest bunches in just three passes,’ Day told me. ‘But in 2012, we made 25 passes – picking the Muscat de Frontignan grapes berry by berry to achieve the same levels of ripeness on that particular trie.

‘It also took a record three months ranging from the beginning of January to the end April and gave us considerably more blending options. Luckily for me, it finished two days before my wedding. Otherwise, I might have been in serious trouble.’

‘Fermentation was also very slow and stressful, taking up to six months,’ he added. Day has also adjusted the oak regime in 2012. ‘The barrels we used this year were a mix of new and used French and Hungarian oak with some tight-grained acacia wood to reduce oxygenation during the wine’s ageing. The end result is incredibly exciting and I can’t wait to have the 2012 on the market’.

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Klein Constantia Vin de Constance

SPRING WHITE WINE SANGRIA

 blog

Sangria is delicate, refreshing and sweet. It’s the perfect afternoon drink: colorful and beautiful, – it is a party in a glass. In other words, it is the unofficial queen of the spring wine scene.

A refreshing white wine sangria with the flavors of mint, lemon and lime.

Author: Minimalist Baker

Ingredients
1 bottle white wine*
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1 lime, thinly sliced
8-10 mint leaves
2 Tbsp sugar

Instructions
1. Prepare simple syrup by mixing 2 Tablespoons of sugar and 2 Tablespoons of water in a small dish and microwaving for 30-second increments until sugar is dissolved. Alternatively, prepare a large batch on the stovetop using a 1:1 sugar-water ratio and reserve for later use.
2. Once simple syrup is ready, add 1 Tablespoon to each wine glass. Then add mint leaves and stir/lightly muddle. Next add several slices each of lemon and lime.
3. Top off with wine and let set for a few minutes so the flavors can meld together. Top off with more wine and citrus as needed.