Natural Wine at Caroline’s Fine Wine

NATURAL WINE TASTING will be held at Caroline’s Fine Wines, Strand Street, Cape Town, on Wednesday, 21st January from 5pm to 8pm.  To find out more about natural wine, Click here for details.  There will be thirteen French wines – Domaine Foillard ( Beaujolais ), Morgon & Fleurie, Dom Breton Vouvray & Chinon, Thierry Germain Saumur Blanc et Rouge, Rene Moss Anjou ( Chenin ), Pierre Gerbais Champagne, Herve Souhaut ( Rhone ) Gamay & Syrah.

Maddox ploughing vineyardsElgin Ridge is proud to be part of the Natural Wine Tasting, standing  by side with these great wines. We are the only certified organic farm in Elgin and farm using traditional methods.

Doug Wregg, will say a few words at 6pm. Doug is the sales and marketing director at Les Cave de Pyrene, a company specialising in artisan, organic, and biodynamic natural wines, in the UK.

Les Cave de Pyrene also own several natural wine bars in London. Doug is sometimes an outspoken advocate of the more natural approach to winemaking, and is co-founder and co-organiser of, The Real Wine Fair, London’s most prominent annual natural wine festival.  Doug writes regular blogs and columns for various food and wine magazines  in the UK, and is considered an expert, and leading proponent, in the Philosophy of making wines in the most natural and environmentally-sustainable way.

Tickets cost R250 per person, which can be booked directly by e-mailing Sasha on carowine@mweb.co.za or click here for a booking form. ( Booking essential and numbers strictly limited ). It’s a walk-around tasting, so you can arrive when you want, but last entry is at 6.30pm

Fiona Beckett – getting to know South Africa

Fiona Beckett’s weekly Guardian article features Elgin Ridge Wines

Fiona Beckett Elgin Ridge

Fiona writes

Fiona Beckett writes, Imagine for a moment describing all French wine as “French wine”.  It wouldn’t begin to give you a sense of the diversity of what the country has to offer, or where to go for the best example of a particular type – Burgundy for chardonnay and pinot noir, for instance. Yet there’s still a tendency to refer to wines from “new world” countries as South African, Argentinian and Chilean, as if there were no regional differences.

Granted, at the most basic level there aren’t – wines will be sourced from whatever fruit is available at a particular price point – but spend a bit more on a bottle and you will be rewarded by the best of what the country has to offer. In South Africa, for example, it pays to be aware of which regions do what well: Constantia, Darling and Elgin are the key areas for sauvignon blanc, Hemel-en-Aarde for chardonnay and pinot, Stellenbosch for attractively supple, bordeaux-style reds, and the Swartland – South Africa’s “wild west” – for syrah and chenin blanc.

Elgin is, I think, currently the most exciting or, as one winemaker put it, “the coolest area in South Africa, and not just climate-wise”. To begin with, its sauvignons seemed like a crude attempt to ape the New Zealand style, with too much asparagus and green pea character. Now, though, producers are more self-confident, letting grapes ripen longer and picking later to get more complexity. Wines such as the organic Elgin Ridge 282 sauvignon blanc (£12.50, at www.winedirect.co.uk £12.99, 14% abv), which I ordered recently in a restaurant, have real elegance and finesse, and cost no more than a supermarket sancerre.

The best-known name in the region is Paul Cluver, who also makes a good, if slightly less refined sauvignon blanc under the Ferricrete label (£11.99, Marks & Spencer; 13.5% abv) and, in the same range, a pretty, floral, off-dry riesling (£12.99, M&S; 10.5% abv) which works particularly well with Asian-style salads and noodle dishes. (Marks & Sparks also has Cluver’s luscious, late-harvest riesling at £14.99.)

I also discovered a gorgeously creamy, burgundy-style chardonnay, the Kershaw Elgin Chardonnay 2012(14% abv), which is made by an English-born master of wine, Richard Kershaw – it’s a bargain at £18.99 if you’re a Naked Wines “angel”, £31.99 to the rest of us. Unusually for Naked Wines, it is worth the full amount, but I do find the talk of “wholesale” prices misleading – check on wine-searcher.com, as the wine may be cheaper elsewhere.

Fiona Beckett

To read more of Fiona’s articles go to

http://gu.com/p/3zjf4/tf 

Elgin Cool Wine and Country Festival

Elgin Ridge is a unique certified organic vineyard in Elgin. We believe in farming using traditional, long since forgotten, methods. This has enabled us to become the only certified organic farm in Elgin. Visit us and taste our sought after wines, produced from our organic grapes.

Lunch Offering

Lunch will be served between 12h00 and 14h30, overlooking the vineyards. Booking is essential as we have limited space. Wine will be available by the glass or bottle.

Lunch Menu

Mature Brie & Caramelized Onion Tart with Fresh Rocket & Rosa Tomatoes

Rooibos Smoked Norwegian Salmon with Capers & Lemon

Herb & Dijon Crusted Beef Fillet with Herb Aioli & Jus

Bacon & Sun dried Tomato Couscous Salad

Wholegrain New Potato Salad

Almond Green Beans

On the Sweeter Side

Elgin Valley Tarte Tatin with Vanilla Ice Cream, Berries & Elgin Honey

R350 per person

2014 Harvest News

Elgin Ridge Harvest 2014

After a cool and very wet summer, harvest at Elgin Ridge started with the Chardonnay (Marion’s Bubbly) on February 11th.

This was followed by the Pinot Noir on February 24th and the Sauvignon Blanc was started on March 12th and finished on March 18th, a full two weeks later than 2013 reflecting the cool season.

Whilst a challenging vintage, the fruit was perfectly ripe at the time of picking, and bunch selection was rigorous. thus eliminating any sub-standard fruit.

All varietals produced juice of excellent quality and all were naturally fermented without any inoculation of commercial yeasts. This produces relatively slow ferments which preserve natural flavours and aromas thus reflecting the true attributes of the location, climate & soil.

All the wines are potentially the best so far from Elgin Ridge, with the Pinot Noir looking outstanding, with fine fruit and good acidity. The Sauvignon Blanc probably has the best expression of the varietal we have had and whilst the Chardonnay has much reduced yields, the quality is excellent.

A challenging vintage which required diligence and a determination not to sacrifice quality for quantity.

Brian

Competition Closed and we have Lucky Winners

When will Ruby have her calf
When will Ruby have her calf

Our competition is easy; guess what date Ruby, our treasured Dexter cow, will have her calf and also guess if it will be a boy or a girl, to win a case of Elgin Ridge Sauvignon Blanc.

If you guess the date correctly but get the boy or girl wrong; you will win 3 bottles of Elgin Ridge Sauvignon Blanc

If you guess it is a girl or boy correctly; but get the date wrong, you will win 3 bottles of Elgin Ridge Sauvignon Blanc.

Ruby is expected to have her calf between now and the 6th January 2014, so don’t take too long to decide or you may miss winning a case of our Organic Sauvignon Blanc

Competition winners need to be over 18 years and live in South Africa or the United Kingdom. Sorry rest of the world, our wine will be available in your country soon.

Behind the scenes at Elgin Ridge

Each season our vines burst into life looking healthier and healthier, The vineyards which produce our organic wines have not been sprayed with any chemical since 2007, Which might be why our wines receive such rave reviews.

We are often asked, how can we farm organically when many organic vineyard owners get very low yields, but at Elgin Ridge, we are blessed, achieving really good yields. So take a look at what happens at Elgin Ridge behind the scenes to make our wonderful wines.

New buds on vines

At Elgin Ridge we never use chemical to control pests, we use ducks instead

Ducks checking for pests

We never use insecticides, as each vine has a band of fluffy material to stop insects crawling up the vine

Vines with fluffy skirts

We make and use biodynamic preparations from our own cow dung and make our all our own compost from cellar waste and any organic material on the farm.

Cows in vineyard

A big work load, farming organically, is weeding each row of vines by hand, having visited Burgundy last year, and seen how horses are used to plough the weeds back into the soil, we now have Maddox on the farm, Maddox a gentle, enormous, Percheron, loves ploughing. He only needed two training sessions and he was ready for work.

Maddox Ploughing

Elgin Ridge Organic Wine by Jamie Goode

Brian Smith Elgin Ridge
Brian Smith

Had a great lunch at the Glass House, Kew on Monday, with Brian Smith, a now-biodynamic winegrower in Elgin, South Africa. I first met Brian and his wife Marion at the same restaurant just over a year ago (so my blog tells me), and they’ve now got to the point where they have their first Pinot Noir bottled. Plans are afoot to produce a Chardonnay-based MCC (sparkling wine), but this won’t be ready for a while.

It’s interesting that Brian and Marion have adopted biodynamics so enthusiastically, to the point that they are now certified fully. Marion has been the driver behind this: Brian says that initially he’d have been quite happy to spray chemicals everywhere, but now he has converted too. They now have a Percheron horse that he’s very proud of, as well as 11 cows and some sheep. ‘The Percheron is the most beautiful horse,’ says Brian. ‘It’s 16 1/2 hand, and weighs 1100 kg.’

organic sauvignon blanc
Elgin Ridge Sauvignon blanc

‘The tough thing is to get organic certification. Once you get this you are part of the way there,’ says Brian. ‘The soil on the farm was tested for chemicals to give the vines the best start.’ He adds, ‘when you think of all the horrible things farmers used to use, it’s a wonder that the land is living at all.’

Brian and Marion are gaining confidence. For example, with the Sauvignon, the 2012 is the first where they felt able to do 100% natural ferment. In the previous vintages they did the small tanks natural, and the large inoculated, for safety reasons. Now they leave the wine on lees until December (the harvest is early March). In 2012 Brian says he made 90% of the wine (with help from Niels Verberg); in 2013 he made 100%.

Elgin Ridge Sauvignon Blanc 2012 Elgin, South Africa

Lovely aromatics: expressive, bright, beautiful fruit – white peach, pear, citrus with subtle green notes. The palate is so well balanced with ripe fruit and lovely weight and precision. There’s real presence here, a proper Sauvignon [92/100] 

Brian says that he planted Pinot Noir because he’s ‘a red wine drinker trapped on a white wine farm.’ The 2012, first release, won’t be out for a while, but it’s looking very promising.

Elgin Ridge Organic Pinot Noir
Elgin Ridge Organic Pinot Noir

 Elgin Ridge Pinot Noir 2012 Elgin, South Africa

Natural ferment (done on the spur of the moment when the destemmed grapes were in the tank), 10 months in oak (20% new, the rest very old). This is South Africa’s only organic Pinot. There’s a bit of spice from the new oak but the dominant theme is the lovely pure, focused red cherry and berry fruit. Amazing finesse and purity. Still primary with potential for development [92/100]

Originally posted on Jamie Goode’s Wine blog

Christian Eedes tastes our Sauvignon Blanc

Elgin Ridge Sauvignon Blanc 2012An organic sauvignon with a certain Je ne sais quoi is how Christian Eedes describes our 2012 Sauvignon Blanc

The Sauvignon Blanc 2012 from Elgin Ridge retains the winning quirkiness while simultaneously losing some of the rough edges of previous vintages.

No exaggerated aromatics but Golden Delicious apples, green melon and an intriguing hint of spice on the palate.

Total acidity is 6.7g/l but you’d never guess – nine months on the lees adds plenty of texture without the wine becoming unduly heavy.

Owners Brian and Marion Smith set out to be organic since acquiring the small property in 2007 and acquired official certification in October 2011. “I’m pleased we’re avoiding the green, acidic style of Sauvignon. I agree with you about that quirkiness but I’m not sure where it comes from,” says Brian. My guess is that this is another instance where organically grown grapes are contributing to a wine that isn’t same old, same old.

Read more about Christian Eedes at www.whatidranklastnight.co.za

Score: 88/100.

Taste the Only Organic Pinot in South Africa

04 April 2013 Pinot Noir

On the 6th and 7th of April Elgin Ridge, as part of the Elegantly Elgin Open Wine Weekend, is offering you an unique opportunity to taste and pre order the first organic Pinot Noir in South Africa. The wine has been produced to strict European Organic Standards.

Bunches were 100% de-stemmed, with natural fermentation, and 10 months in 20% new French Oak.

Only 1400 Bottles of this unique wine were produced.

The colour is bright medium to dark red with red summer fruits and hints of warm spices, cinnamon and cloves on the nose

The palate is fruit forward on entry, cherries and raspberries with a slight herbal note on mid-palate with a long finish. The tannins are balanced and approachable.

1st Bottle of Pinot Noir at Elgin Ridge
1st Bottle of Pinot Noir at Elgin Ridge

Alcohol 13.5%, Sugar 2.2 g/l, PH 3.6, TA 5.0 g/l, Free SO2 28, Total SO2 61

Cellar Price R250.00 inc VAT

Proud winemakers, Niels Verburg and Brian Smith,
holding the first South African organic pinot noir.

Marion and Brian

Twitter @ElginRidgeWines