Wine of Origin: Franschhoek
Winemaker: Karl Lambour
Background: The ancient art of making and storing wine thousands of years ago by the Greeks and Romans by using clay pot vessels (amphorae) has been embraced once again by some innovative winemakers who are looking at a different approach and style for making some of their wines. Although the number of amphorae users in the world is quite low, they are very much talked about. The advantage of the clay vessel is that it protects the wine from oxidation in a natural way and therefore no need to add any sulphur during the fermentation and maturation process. The result is a wine which offers a unique purity and freshness.
Winemaker, Karl Lambour, since joining Grande Provence in 2012, had the freedom to add new styles of wines to the wineries portfolio as well as been given the opportunity to experiment in the cellar with non-commercial wine making techniques. A couple of years ago Karl brought in, at great expense, two 400litre clay amphora pots from a company in Italy who had seven generations of experience in making these vessels. Karl’s one concern about using amphorae was the ability to seal the wide lipped opening at the top of the vessel. However the ones he bought from Manetti Gusmano and Figli from Florence have perfected the ability to close them perfectly for fermentation and maturation.
For the 2015 vintage Karl selected Chenin Blanc from a 32 year old vineyard in Franschhoek and only the very best yellow, sun exposed bunches were picked to maximise the health, flavour and aromatic expression of the wine. After destemming by hand the wine was left to ferment naturally on the skins and left to remain in the amphorae for seven months without sulphur. Karl added small percentages of Muscat D’ Alexandria and Viognier to enrich the texture of the wine.
Result: The wine offers aromatic aromas of citrus and marmalade leading to complex structured flavours of silky ripe mandarin fruit on the palate, which lingers favourably on the finish.
When to drink: now till 2025
Drink with what: We enjoyed the wine at Grande Provence this week with a main course of wild pigeon, wild porcini, vanilla infused celeriac puree and bush herbs prepared by resident chef, Darren Badenhorst. It was a perfect match!
Expect to pay: R600.00