Vrede en Lust introduces its maiden vintage Casey’s Ridge Pinot Grigio

Vrede en Lust proudly introduces its maiden vintage Pinot Grigio! The wine is a rare, South African cool climate 100% Pinot Grigio, made from a block planted on Vrede en Lust’s Casey’s Ridge Elgin vineyard in 2006.  The maiden vintage is only 300 cases, made entirely from free-run juice.

Pinot Grigio is believed to be a mutant clone of Pinot Noir. In Italy, Pinot Grigio is the most popular white wine, while in the Alsace it is generally called Pinot Gris. It is the most popular imported wine in the United States where it comes fourth in terms of varietal consumption behind Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Typical Pinot Grigio flavours range from melon to pear, may show floral, smoky or honey notes and sometimes even subtle tropical or citrus fruit. Pinot Grigio is known for its silk-like texture in the mouth.

The maiden release will be available only to WineClub members and for purchase at the cellar-door. Susan describes the wine as ‘a light and crisp white wine showing aromas of apple, pear with some delicate floral notes.

It is often a challenge for winemakers, as the ripe Pinot Grigio grapes develop a blue-grey colour skin. The grapes were crushed in the middle of February and fermented in stainless steel tanks. Careful attention was paid to the handling of the wine, as the skin colouring often leads to pink/grey tinges.

The wine was aged on lees for a few months before bottling in July. Its zestiness  will lend to it being enjoyed on its own and with a variety of different dishes. The wine can be enjoyed now but should mature well for a few years, given its cool climate acidity.

Winemaker Susan Erasmus with the Pinot Grigio grapes ahead of harvest.

We decided to plant Pinot Grigio in Elgin, as some of the best examples come from cool, deep, well drained, gravelly soils on sun facing slopes. The spot we had in mind, matches that description perfectly.

The 1,8ha (4.5 acre) vineyard is located along a fairly steep, north-west facing slope of Bokkeveldt Shale soil, close to the Kogelberg Hydro-electric Dam. The gravel content of the soil is approximately 70% and the test holes found no clay in profile holes as deep as 3m.