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Lothian Vineyards Chardonnay 2017
The cool climate of Elgin is ideal for producing elegant Burgundian-style whites and this example from Lothian Vineyards is no exception. This stunning wine is made with top quality grapes from the estate’s three blocks of Chardonnay vines which are harvested by hand at optimal ripeness. On arrival at the winery the grapes are pressed as whole bunches and allowed a period of skin contact to add complexity and structure to the wine.
Following fermentation in stainless steel tanks to preserve the graceful varietal character, the young wine is transferred to French oak barrels for 10 months. The result is a richly-flavoured white wine with enticing notes of white peach, apricot, vanilla, and lemon zest. On the palate there is a full body, intense flavours, and firm structure which will help the wine to age gracefully over the next five years or so.
Lothian Vineyards sits on the banks of the Palmiet River and boasts perfectly-sited vineyards planted with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Riesling. This stunning estate was born of the Wilson family’s long search to find the ideal spot to produce Burgundian-style red and white wines and now produces some of Elgin’s most elegant bottlings.
Stark Conde Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
Set in the picturesque and rugged Jonkershoek Valley in Stellenbosch, Stark Conde is a family-run winery with some 85 acres currently under vine. The valley is characterised by steep changes in elevation with vineyards varying between 150-600 metres above sea level. This helps to create complex, multi-faceted wines which are crafted using traditional techniques and precise methods including hand-sorting of the grapes and small-batch fermentation.
This robust Cabernet is made in a powerful yet approachable style from fruit sourced from four Stellenbosch mountain vineyards planted on the region’s characteristic iron-rich granite soils. The grapes are typically harvested in mid-March at optimum maturity and are carefully sorted manually to ensure only top quality fruit goes into this bottling. Following vinification the young wine is aged in French oak barrels for 20 months before being bottled and released.
Crushed blackberries, cedar and tea leaf notes characterise the nose while the palate offers intense dark berry notes seasoned with dried herbs, mocha and cigar box spice. The powerful flavour profile is complemented by firm tannins and a well-built structure which will mellow over the next few years in the cellar. A great partner for typical South African braai or barbecue or roasted red meats.
Klein Constantia Estate Red 2017
With a noble history which dates back to 1685, Klein Constantia is one of South Africa’s most revered wineries. The property occupies a stunning setting in the foothills of the Constiaberg with views over towards nearby False Bay. Conditions here are ideal for producing premium wines thanks to the cooling ocean breezes which create a very long ripening period and help to preserve freshness and aromatic complexity in the grapes.
This robust red is crafted from Cabernet Sauvignon along with smaller proportions of Petit Verdot and Malbec. The grapes are carefully harvested from selected parcels at optimum ripeness with only the best quality grapes chosen to be used in this wine. Following vinification the young wine is transferred to French oak barrels for 16 months of maturation.
Black cherries, cassis and mulberries characterise the nose while the palate is bursting with big bold berry flavours and more delicate hints of woodsmoke, black pepper, and vanilla from the oak ageing. Smooth tannins, a firm structure and ripe fruit flavours make this a great partner for flavoursome red meat dishes, although it can also be cellared for another six or so years.
Stark Conde The Field Blend 2017
The story of Stark Conde dates back to 1989 when Hans & Midori Schroder purchased Oude Nektar farm in the dramatic Jonkershoek Valley in Stellenbosch and began growing top quality grapes. A decade later, in 1998, the couple were joined by their daughter and son-in-law, Marie and José, and the Stark Conde family winery was born.
The stunning setting in the rugged Jonkershoek Valley helps to give the wines a unique character and flavour profile thanks to the large variations in elevation across their vineyards. Their lowest plots sit at 150 metres while the highest are found at 600 metres above sea level.
The family’s Field Blend is a complex composition of Chenin Blanc, Roussanne, Verdelho and Viognier which are all sourced from a prime single vineyard plot named Jan Lui’s Field after a former owner. The grapes are all harvested and fermented together as a true field blend with 90% of the wine fermented and aged in oak barrels for 8 months. The result is an opulent full bodied white with enticing tropical and citrus fruit notes as well as a creamy texture and hints of vanilla and spice from the oak maturation.
Beaumont Hope Marguerite Chenin Blanc 2018
One of the most exciting Chenin Blancs currently being produced in South Africa, the Beaumont Hope Marguerite has won praise from top international wine critics like Tim Atkin and Jancis Robinson. The fruit used in this wine is carefully selected from the estate’s oldest Chenin plantings which date back to the 1970s. The wine is fermented in large French oak barrels and aged on the lees to add additional character and complexity.
The result is a powerful, full-bodied white wine which is reminiscent of fine white Burgundy. On the nose there are intense notes of white peaches, vanilla, and mango, while the first sip reveals a firm structure and bright tropical fruit flavours. This is a wine which will respond well to ageing and can be kept in the cellar for at least 5-7 years.
The Beaumont family founded their winery in 1994 after withdrawing from the local co-operative to try their hand at making their own wines from start to finish. As well as working hard on the vineyards, Raoul and Jayne Beaumont renovated the charming 18th centrury building at the heart of the estate which once served as an outpost for the Dutch East India Company. Today the estate is run by Sebastian who is committed to producing exceptional Chenin Blanc wines from the Bot River’s outstanding cool climate conditions.