• Karlin Nel, our travelling winemaker

    I recently had the opportunity to join the famous tribe of the well-known “travelling winemakers of the world” for a few weeks when I represented Vrede en Lust in Europe and the United Kingdom. In the emerging social media era hashtags and handles related to travelling, wine enthusiasts, winemakers and even travelling winemakers are becoming  more popular and trendy!  Following these on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram might take you on a wine journey from a local, small town like Malgas to the most beautiful, well-known sites of Napa Valley.

     

    During August I had the opportunity to meet with some of our importers in different countries, including Birmingham, Belgium and Germany. The aim of my visit was to mainly do trade visits and to present some lovely food and wine pairings to the citizens of the UK and EU.

     

    My first stop was in Birmingham, UK. I conducted a tutored Food and Wine paring at Little Blackwood Restaurant in Moseley, a village known for its cosmopolitan community and vibrant social scene. Brought to you by the award-winning chef, Ben Taylor, Little Blackwood Mosley is his first restaurant back in his hometown. Some of the pairings included the Vrede en Lust Viognier 2016 paired with pan seared Monkfish, Mango and Pineapple salsa, smoked Chili Mayonnaise and Garlic Pak Choi. An amazing gastronomical experience it sure was!!

    Food & Wine Pairing at Little Blackwood Restaurant, Moseley

     

    Thereafter I took the train to London where I had four “touristy” days to explore the sensational London culture and lifestyle. Some of my highlights included the Hop-on-hop-off tours, visiting the Buckingham Palace, a lovely Thames river cruise, the well-known London Eye, the busy Piccadilly Circus, Oxford street and one of my personal favorites, exploring the street food at Camden market.

    Thames River Cruise: London Tower Bridge

    Thames River Cruise – London Eye

    Camden Market

     

    My next stop was Brussels, the capital of Belgium. Our importer in from Minngoed in Belgium, Frederick, organized a lovely day in Oudenaarde which was referred to as: “Minnegoed Degustatie & Ontedeekingsdag”. In short, this entailed a day for the public to taste South African and Portuguese wines. We had a terrific day with our flagship White, Barrique, turning out to being one of the top Wines for the show. We also did a tasting in one of the most beautiful towns, Ghent, at a wine bar with a great turnout of locals loving the South African wine. I ended my time in Belgium on a high note with some free time to explore the amazing Ghent and its culture!

    Wine Bar in Ghent, Belgium

     

    Ghent, Belgium

    Belgian Waffles

    My final stop was in Germany. I visited Capreo, our importers in Germany. They specialize in importing premium wines of the highest quality from South Africa. I presented a lovely tasting consisting out of our whole range (similar to the range available in the Vrede en Lust Tasting Room in South Africa) for the Capreo team.

     

    My highlight of the trip was to share my intense passion for wines to wine lovers all across the world. Like I always say: “Every moment in life we have the opportunity to choose joy and what better way to choose this joy with a glass (or bottle) of Vrede en Lust!!”

     

    ‘Till my next adventure! Cheers!

     

  • Susan bids Vrede en Lust farewell after 12 years at the winemaking helm

    Susan Erasmus (right) with successor Karlin Nel (left).

    It is with sadness but great appreciation that we say goodbye to our head winemaker of 12 years, Susan Erasmus, at the end of August. We look back at Susan’s tenure with fondness, and while her parting is an enormous loss, we are grateful for her long-standing commitment in establishing Vrede en Lust as a sought-after super premium wine brand, and wish her well as she spreads her wings in the industry.

    Susan was only 26 years old and starting out on her winemaking journey with big aspirations when she took charge of the Vrede en Lust cellar in 2006. Coincidentally, her assistant until recently, Karlin Nel, who now takes over as head winemaker, is also a youthful 26.

    Susan has experienced many highlights during her time at Vrede en Lust, notably when she received the Woman Winemaker of the Year award for her maiden vintage Viognier 2007. Yet she will be the first to tell you that winemaking is a career that keeps one humble – no two vintages are ever the same and every harvest brings its own unique challenges. “As a winemaker it is important to ultimately know your vineyards and trust your instincts,” she says.

    Other memorable highlights for Susan have included the growth of the Artisan Range, Vrede en Lust’s experimental handcrafted range made in limited quantities for the wine club, and the high acclaim received by wines across the entire range. “When I look back at our positioning in the market 11 years ago, the growth and expansion of the brand has been phenomenal. The best description for our wines remains affordable luxury, and this is clearly recognised by consumers. I think the care and attention to detail that goes into the making of every Vrede en Lust wine has reaped rewards in a big way. It shows in the ever growing demand for our wines in the trade, our thriving wine club and the regular achievements at local and international level. Another recent stand-out was having Tim Atkin MW taste our range and getting glowing feedback, showing that our wines can shine on a global stage.”

    Susan will now be joining Laffort SA, where she will be assisting wine producers with technical advice, but will still continue to lend her expertise to Vrede en Lust’s cellar team from time to time. And she has every confidence in her successor. “I look forward to helping Karlin as mentor and consultant. I know that given her exceptional skill and vision she will be very successful in her new role and look forward to seeing her grow and prosper.”

    Go well Susan and best wishes for the future, your legacy at Vrede en Lust will be treasured.

  • Popular Jess Dry Rosé shows its star quality at Rosé Rocks!

    It’s been a spectacular start to the 2017 wine awards season for Vrede en Lust, with excellent results from various leading competitions. Now one of our most popular wines, the Jess Dry Rosé joins the esteemed list of Vrede en Lust wines to be awarded this year, after winning a gold medal at the Rosé Rocks awards, an annual competition dedicated exclusively to showcasing South Africa’s finest rosé wines. A total of only 15 double gold medals, and 20 gold medals were awarded out of 161 still and sparkling wines entered.

    This achievement is not the only recent milestone for the Jess Rosé, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. First released in 2017, it was named after Vrede en Lust owner Dana Buys’ daughter Jessica Lee to commemorate her 16th birthday. His brief to the cellar team then was that the wine had to live up to its namesake – vibrant, energetic and playful, yet stylish and elegant.

    The Vrede en Lust Jess Rosé is a blend of predominantly Pinotage grapes blended with Shiraz. The grapes were harvested in small batches at varying sugar levels, and the different components were fermented separately in stainless steel tanks to enhance the options for final blending. Juice was treated like white wine and fermented with no lees contact and no malolactic fermentation. This resulted in a wine with fresh, well-defined red fruit layers and a lively, balanced acidity.

    The pale pink Jess Rosé is brimful of strawberry, raspberry and fresh cut watermelon flavours. Its superb structure and balance makes it a versatile food wine. The Jess is terrific with dishes as diverse as aromatic chicken curries, fruit-based salads and any combination with seafood, especially salmon.

    Did you know? More about rosé:

    • Rosé is one of the fastest growing wine categories in South Africa. According to industry body Sawis, local sales of rosé wine trebled between 2007 and 2014. This is in line with international trends, in fact, rosé wine sales are growing at least 10 times faster than the growth of overall table wine sales in the US, according to Nielsen research.
    • Provence in France is seen as the traditional birthplace of rosé. The famous dry, pale pink wines of this region continue to grow in popularity in major international wine markets and in France, sales of rosé now outstrip white wine.
    • While rosé has stereotypically been perceived as a feminine drink, much of the growth in US rosé sales is being attributed to men, according to a 2016 Forbes.com article – so much so that the term brosé (referring to rosé that men supposedly like) emerged and started trending on social media.

    Sources: Sawis, Nielsen, Forbes.com

     

  • Vrede en Lust Artisan Range Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 shines at Signature Red Blend Report 2017

    The results of the second annual Signature Red Blend Report were announced recently to a select group of wine industry stakeholders and media in Cape Town, with the Vrede en Lust Artisan Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 enjoying pride of place among the elite group of red blends selected. What is more, the Artisan Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon was one of only 4 wines entered for this year’s competition to receive a score of 92/100 points, reaffirming the rare quality that has made it one of the most sought-after offerings on the Vrede en Lust wine portfolio.

    The Signature Red Blend Report is organised by Winemag.co.za under the convenorship of well respected wine writer and judge Christian Eedes. The main criteria for entries are stipulated as wines which are “distinctive of their originators” and “those which draw particular attention in the market place”. These wines are generally not Bordeaux or Cape Blends, but predominantly contain the Rhône varieties, although they are not limited to them. There were 82 entries from 62 producers received this year. Of these entries only 20 wines received a rating of 90 or higher on the 100-point quality scale.

    The Vrede en Lust Artisan Range was originally initiated as an experimental range made in limited quantities (between 5-15 barrels) specially for Vrede en Lust’s discerning Wine Club members. The winemaking approach with these small batches is artisanal and creative, with minimum intervention and utmost attention to ensure the wines display a character distinctive of their vineyard site. For the Artisan Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are used from 2 specific blocks on the Vrede en Lust estate carefully selected for their individual flavour characteristics. The Shiraz shows spice and and upfront fruit character, which is well balanced by the typical Cabernet berry aromas.

    The Artisan Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon is comprised of 60% Shiraz and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon. The excellent 2013 vintage shows layered dark fruit, and a beautiful perfume of pepper and attractive oak on the nose. The Signature Red Blend Report judges described the wine as “Rich and full but balanced – good depth and freshness, the tannins nicely chewy. It has a real lusciousness about it.” 

    For more information about this exclusive wine and availability, contact the tasting room on info@vnl.co.za or 021 874 1611.

     

  • Our Kogelberg Chenin Blanc 2015 Wows SA Sommeliers

    Vrede en Lust has made a big impression on the local wine and hospitality fraternity with its remarkable Kogelberg Chenin Blanc – a wine that has been turning heads since its maiden release. The 2015 vintage has been selected for this year’s Sommeliers Selection, South Africa’s first and only wine competition adjudicated solely by a panel of the country’s top sommeliers.

    For this unique competition, entries are judged for their food appropriateness and gastronomical relevance during blind tastings, and selected wines are compiled in a wine list format which is distributed to the local restaurant trade. The winning wines will also be showcased at trade and public tastings which will take place on 28 September and 5 October in Johannesburg and Cape Town respectively.

    The Kogelberg Chenin Blanc was selected by the Sommeliers Selection panel in the category ‘full and rich whites’, underscoring the complexity of the wine which makes it the perfect partner for many styles of cuisine, and creamy, aromatic dishes in particular.

    It is a wine with a special story, with the grapes used for the Kogelberg Chenin Blanc grown on Vrede en Lust’s Elgin farm, Casey’s Ridge. When Vrede en Lust owners, the Buys family, bought the farm in 2005, it was almost entirely planted to apple orchards, but recognizing the potential to produce superlative wine grapes, the farm was replanted to varieties ideally suited to the farm’s cool climate and unique terroir. The cool climate wines produced from these grapes complement the warmer climate Simonsberg-Paarl plantings and are a natural extention to the individualistic Vrede en Lust range. The Kogelberg Chenin Blanc originates from a registered single vineyard named the Kogelberg block, so named because of its location in the Kogelberg Biosphere, the first UNESCO proclaimed biosphere in Africa with an incredible diversity of fynbos and other plant species.

    The first bottling of the Kogelberg Chenin Blanc was released in 2011 and received a Gold Michelangelo Award just prior to its release, an achievement that was repeated by the 2012 vintage. The wine is produced in limited quantities and fermented in 225 and 500 litre French oak barrels using 2nd and 3rd fill barrels. The wine receives lees contact for 10 months prior to bottling for enhanced flavour and complexity. While the 2015 vintage is presently showing exceptionally well as the Sommelier Selection result testifies, it is also a wine with outstanding ageability that develops further character within 5-7 years from vintage.

    Winemaker Susan Erasmus, who is known for her artisanal, hands-on approach in the cellar, describes the Kogelberg Chenin Blanc as a riveting taste experience, with layered, lingering ripe stone fruit and honey flavours combined with refreshing citrus notes. Available at the cellar and selected fine wine retailers while stocks last.

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