All good things come to an end, but in the case of Elgin Ridge Wines, their successes will continue under the new ownership of Radford Dale Wines.
Elgin Ridge is the result of a long-lived dream of co-owners Brian and Marion Smith. The couple sold their successful IT business in London and purchased what was then a neglected apple farm in Elgin in 2007 in order to pursue their dream of making small quantities of authentic wines. The tiny valley, with its unique terroir, natural beauty and undeniable character, captured their hearts – it was the perfect place to turn their dream into reality.
Certified organic and Biodynamic in South Africa
Marion’s passion for organic wine resulted in the launch of the Biodynamic Organic Association in August 2017, (BOWSA.co.za), whose aim was to act as the reference point for consumers and interested parties as to which wine producers are certified organic and Biodynamic in South Africa and which would uplift and bring credibility to the organic wine industry.
Brian and Marion are heartened that Radford Dale will continue farming the land organically.
“It brings joy to my heart that the farm will continue on in the spirit it was created, natural vines producing natural wines expressing the distinctive cool terroir of Elgin,” shared Marion Smith.
Although the farm now has new owners, the Smiths will continue to sell their current stock of bottled Elgin Ridge Wines to ensure their wines are available for both local and export customers.
Since 2007 Brian and Marion have lived, slept and breathed Elgin Ridge, they are looking forward to their next adventure, which includes travelling and spending time with friends. They will continue to live in South Africa.
As South Africa heads towards lockdown from midnight, we would like to extend a very special thank you to all of our customers for your wonderful support.
While no wine sales or deliveries are permitted during the lockdown period, we are so grateful to have been able to share our wines with so many of you who stocked up early. May they bring you happy moments of relaxation and reflection over these next weeks.
Remember you can still place an order at our on line shop here and we will have it all packed and ready to delivery once wine sales are allowed
Neal Martin is one of the most respected, international wine critics. Previously at Wine Advocate, Neal is now part of the team at Vinous and rated our 2016 Sauvignon blanc with 91 points in his 2019 South Africa Report
“The Elgin Ridge 2016 “282” Sauvignon Blanc, so named due to the apparent ideal elevation to create cool-climate Sauvignon Blanc in the Eglin Valley, actually goes a long way towards proving that point. It has a wonderful nose of freshly sliced pear, melon, gooseberry and subtle tropical aromas. Those are replicated on the palate, which is fresh, well balanced and offers enticing gooseberry, nectarine, satsuma and mandarin notes. This is a top-notch Elgin Sauvignon that is drinking beautifully now but should give four or five years of drinking pleasure.
Drinking window: 2019 – 2025, Tasting date: October 2019
How predictable is brand when it comes to determining wine quality? Put another way, should the better known brands readily submit their wines to the potentially more objective world of blind tasting?
The Jordan Cold Fact 2018 was pipped (admittedly only by a point) by the 2016 Elgin Ridge 282 – a less well-known wine, and therefore, given the pricing, under some pressure to over-deliver at the price point. This is exactly what it did: it’s a bigger, more muscular sort of sauvignon, and its aromatic profile reflects its appellation. There are notes of capsicum and blackcurrant leaf, whiffs of mown hay. It’s not showing any age, although the extra two years in bottle have helped the integration.
The September 2019 issue of leading international wine industry magazine, Decanter, takes readers into the world of the cool-climate Elgin Wine Valley. Authored by industry influencer, Christian Eedes, the feature is appropriately entitled ‘Elgin wine region: Names to know and wine to try’.
Included in the lineup is Elgin Ridge Wines’ certified organic and certified biodynamic Chaos White 2018, which scored an impressive 94 points, and tied for joint first place as his best white wine in Elgin.
“We’re excited by this international validation, as it speaks to hard work and passion we constantly strive for in producing organic and biodynamic wines at Elgin Ridge. Christian Eedes and Decanter’s endorsement reaffirms our team’s dedication to creating wines of excellence.”
A wine to savour
The Chaos White 2018, a blend of 68% Sauvignon Blanc and 32% Semillon, as showcasing sweet pear, apricot and elderflower flavours, with nuances of dry hay around the edges. These flavours develop into fennel with a green tea and ginger undertone. The palate has a pithy edge, yet coated with an oily, multi-layered and textured mouthfeel. A wine not to be rushed, but rather savoured.
Enjoy on its own – served at approximately 15°C – or enjoy with fish, chicken and creamed based pasta dishes. Without a doubt a collector’s dream, the Chaos White 2018 is available directly from Elgin Ridge or select specialist outlets nationwide.
To be a certified biodynamic wine producer is a long and arduous path to follow. Few in South African have done it, Elgin Ridge Wine Estate has. Owned by Brian and Marion Smith. In the cool [in terms of climate and fashion] and beautiful Elgin Valley. Breezes from the cool Atlantic ensure the right climate for Pinot Noir, ameliorating the summer heat and allowing for a long hang time to reach perfect ripeness. Brian and Marion, with their winemaker Kosie van der Merwe produce a small but exceeding fine range of wines.
Organic wine farm
Ever more popular in South Africa, Pinot Noir is a perfect reflection of the soils and climate in which it is grown and a fingerprint of each vintage. Being a certified Biodynamic and organic wine farm allows the winemaking team to produce excellent fruit which requires minimal intervention in the cellar. The only ingredient in this wine that is not from the vineyard, is the added 62 ppm total SO2 after natural malolactic fermentation.
I was keen to find out about the oak regime for the Elgin Ridge 282 Pinot Noir 2016, and Kosie gave me way more than I wanted. He made the wine from three different Pinot Noir clones. Here is what he said.
“The 282 Elgin Ridge Pinot Noir 2016 comes from 4 vineyards, consisting of 3 clones: 777, 667 and 115. The three clones were vinified separately.”