• 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!

     

  • Tim Atkin SA Special Report 2017 – Success for Vrede en Lust

    casey's ridge estate

    Tim Atkin’s much anticipated 2017 South Africa Special Report has just been released, and at Vrede en Lust we have reason to clink our glasses to the results. The highly respected British wine writer and Master of Wine published his 5th report on the state of South African wine this year, and no less than 8 wines from our cellar received outstanding ratings.

    Here is a look at Vrede en Lust’s star performers in this year’s overview:

    Lady J Syrah 2013 – 90 points

    The Lady J Syrah is the perfect example of how fruit from two different terroirs (warmer climate Paarl-Simonsberg and cooler climate Elgin) can harmonise to create a wine showcasing the best of both regions and beautiful balance. It features juicy plums and mulberries, along with aromatic notes of violets, spice and black pepper.

    Boet Erasmus 2013 – 91 points

    Vrede en Lust’s flagship red wine is named after the owners’ grandfather, who left an awe-inspiring legacy as rugby administrator and family man. This Bordeaux blend is marked by vibrant red and black fruit, tobacco and vanilla spice and a mineral earthiness.

    Artisan Cabernet Franc 2014 – 91 points

    This acclaimed wine received the coveted Cabernet Franc Trophy at the 2016 Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show. It has a bright core of juicy red fruit, with integrated fynbos and savoury notes, and a fresh, generous finish.

    Artisan Casey’s Ridge Shiraz 2013 – 92 points

    Another winning wine from the 2013 crop, reaffirming the excellence of this vintage. Made from the elegant cool-climate fruit of Vrede en Lust’s Elgin farm, Casey’s Ridge, this wine exudes bright red fruit aromas and typical varietal notes of herbs and spice, with fine tannins and a persistent finish.

    Barrique Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2015 – 93 points

    2015 was also one of the finest recent vintages in the Cape winelands, in fact, Tim Aktin remarked in his previous SA Special Report that it was “the best I’ve tasted in 26 years of writing about the country’s wines” and should be a springboard to global recognition. The Barrique Semillon Sauvignon Blanc is a gem of a wine, and a blend that Vrede en Lust’s cellar team has been perfecting since 2009 with great passion. It shows the synergy between Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc and has proven to be a wine with great longevity. Rich and complex with quince, lime and elderflower flavours elegantly balanced by a lingering minerality.

    What is more, the Kogelberg Chenin Blanc 2015 and White Mischief 2016 were both awarded 89 points, and the Casey’s Ridge Sauvignon Blanc 2016 88 points, underscoring the quality of the Vrede en Lust range across the whole portfolio. Get your hands on these exceptional wines now while stocks last.

  • 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.

  • 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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