A bubbly to have around the Braai
01 January 1970
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So you’re listening to Old Mutual Live Wine Edition and I’m Jenny Crwys-Williams. So when the flavours of a wine are described as white peaches you want to start fainting, don’t you. Then green apples and then the final killer, proving bread, my mouth begins to water. I’m sitting opposite Wikus Human and welcome to Old Mutual Live. What wine have you chosen for the last weekend in October, surprise me because I think it’s fizz?
Wikus Human: Of course 100% correct. We travelled to Franschhoek this week to select the wine and we went all the way to Le Lude. Which is basically just as you’re leaving Franschhoek you turn left and on your right-hand side you’ll find the le Lude Wine Farm.
So the winemaker here is Paul Gerber, he has been making bubbly for quite a time. He actually goes every year to Champagne as well to du Porogais to go and help out here or just have a look at what the French do in making Champagne. Comes back to South Africa and basically follows, it’s almost like a similar practice to make this absolutely amazing bubbly from the Franschhoek area.
What’s in this Brut?
So we’re going to talk about the Brut, which is a non-vintage and it’s only about R195, so very accessible. This is a classic blend of 54% Chardonnay and 46% Pinot Noir. The most important thing for me around this bubbly is, it’s made with patience. We’re running at the 2012 blend, you can call it that at the moment. This has spent 36 months on the lees and another six months on the final cork before release.
So this wine is almost three and half years old before it gets put into public, basically a similar style almost to Champagne. The flavours as you described in this wine, white peaches, green apples, proving bread onto the palate. Those white peaches and green apples carry through quite nice. It’s almost like a bit of brioche character in the background with this beautiful acidity and this longevity of bubbles in the glass, absolutely amazing.
I mean I think one thing that we forget in South Africa is every Saturday when we braai, we always tend to do red wine with red meat. Why not have a bottle of bubbly with your Saturday afternoon braai? Your char grilled piece of meat or a piece of meat like a sirloin with just a bit of fattiness on the side. The thing that bubbly has is acidity and acidity cuts through this char and fattiness in the meat. That’s one thing we do forget about bubbly, it cleanses your palate with every single sip.
David was actually telling me how he had a bottle of Champagne on a Saturday afternoon braai and it’s just absolutely amazing how the flavours of the Champagne and the acidity cuts through the meat and just cleanses your palate. So absolutely amazing and I think on the le Lude here, one of my favourite bubblies at the moment, I’ve got in the cellar as well and it just –
JCW: I think I took a photograph of you holding a bottle of le Lude towards the camera.
Bubbly made with so much love
WH: Yes, this is as I said, one of my wines that took me through my wine career as well. It’s the first time with me scourging a bottle as well of Champagne, just that force that comes out. I mean, as I said, one of my favourite wines and you told me about this wine that Matthew Krone makes.
JCW: Matthew, yes that’s right.
WH: So quite interesting here, he makes this wine only every four years, which is your leap year and he made it for his daughter and it’s called Alexandra if I’m correct. Hopefully the new leap year is in the close future. I’m going to order 24 bottles now. But absolutely the same style leaving it about four years on the lees before release.
I think making a wine with such patience just shows how much you love the wine, how much you appreciate the wine and actually having a bit of a cost, leaving it in your cellar. But I mean there are some winemakers, they just want to make perfect bubbly. Using the patience and using the time to make exceptional wine, so I’m definitely ordering a case of 24 if not 36 for when their next release comes out.
JCW: Well I’m sure you’re going to want some of your own because I just think, I tasted it and it was lovely. I also noticed that the mousse was very, very fine and I think that also must come from the winemaker’s experience with Pol Roger and whatever. The amount of time it actually spends in the bottle before it goes on sale.
WH: Definitely. I think it’s very important for South African winemakers to go and see what happens overseas and how these people do make wines. I mean just coming back and putting it into their own wine practices, it just makes wines these days absolutely exceptional.
What makes it stand out?
JCW: Just a final question about le Lude, what makes it stand out in comparison to other South Africa bubblies because we are I think making more bubblies at the moment.
WH: Definitely, I think some wine farms that did bubbly and still wines are actually just focusing on bubbly itself because it’s also very trending at the moment. But I think what makes things a bit different about le Lude is they’re also the only wine farm to still use the Agraff system. So it’s basically this metal cap that goes over the closure of the bottle before the final cork is put on.
This extended lees period of time just makes the wine way more elegant. As you said that fine mousse, that longevity and beautiful bubbles up in the glass, whereas some people just feel a bit more pressure just you know put bubbles in bottle and get these bottles on the rack. Where some people as you said, Pol takes his time, he makes an exceptional wine and he still makes it cost-effective if you can buy it.
JCW: Well my mouth is watering with this, I’ve got to tell you, and the price is really, really reasonable, it’s under R200.
WH: Exactly yes, so absolutely amazing. I think Woolworths would maybe get it on the racks, but absolutely amazing and thank you so much for having me these past four weeks.
JCW: No, no, no it’s been such fun and people will refer to this because it really is good and your notes are absolutely outstanding. Alcohol 12% so it’s not the end of the world is it?
WH: Exactly, once again having a bottle outside is also not a problem for even in the weekday, five o’ clock in the afternoon.
JCW: Well oysters, fish, grilled meats, and the acidity that you were talking about.
WH: I mean I think acidity of these wines these days is very important and I mean you don’t want a clawing wine or very heavy wine on your palate. You want something that you can enjoy on your own or with a lighter style of food and this is exactly what you’re looking for.
JCW: Does anybody ever drink Champagne on their own? I don’t think so. Anyway download the Old Mutual app from your app store to get your favourite podcasts. It’s also the best place to listen to our exclusive popup event stations.