Niels Verburg, owner & winemaker at Luddite Wines, Bot River, South Africa gave a terrific wine presentation, including a selection of Chenin Blanc’s from South Africa and four different vintages of his award winning Shiraz – finishing off with a tasting of his freshly pressed Olive Oil. After Niels presentation & tasting, we all enjoyed Ted Berner’s Wildside Catering traditional South African Braai, with Niels on hand demonstrating the art of Sabrage to open Sparkling Wine.
We were delighted to welcome Neil Ellis, owner & winemaker, Neil Ellis Wines, Stellenbosch, South Africa. www.neilellis.com (pictured here with Pascal Playon and William Tindal)
Mindful that no single vineyard can satisfy the needs of all grape varieties, Neil Ellis set out to identify distinct terroir in which individual varieties will excel. He placed the emphasis not only on the environment but also on caring viticultural practises by a dedicated team of growers which extends through to the winemaking practices, to make distinctive, refined wines that are expressive of their terroir and rank amongst South Africa’s finest.
Today the journey of Neil Ellis Wines is not only of Neil Ellis anymore, but a team of young, dedicated winemakers harnessed in their pursuit of quality winemaking. After four decades of making wine, the next stage of the journey has begun with Neil’s son, Warren, sharing responsibilities as winemaker and viticulturist.
Our thanks to William Tindal and Pascal Playon of Tindal Wine Merchants for organizing this visit. www.tindalwine.com
Waterkloof Vineyard, Somerset West, Stellenbosch, South Africa was started by Louis’s father, Paul Boutinot (Paul’s father, a Frenchman, opened a restaurant in Stockport, based on the French model of mother front-of-the-house and kids peeling potatoes as soon as they’re old enough, which in turn led Paul to ‘fall’ into the wine trade). Following a classic apprenticeship in the wine trade in the early 1970s, Paul launched his own wine import business in the UK in 1980. His private investment in Waterkloof is, therefore, not that of the archetypical foreign-based lifestyle investor, but rather as a hands-on dedicated entrepreneur-cum-winemaker. It is his outspoken desire to produce truly fine wines, consistently with a defining sense of origin from Waterkloof.
In conversion to Biodynamic viticulture, Waterkloof also make a number of wines also under the name of False Bay. The name False Bay was chosen as the farm actually overlooks this particular bay. It is a cornerstone of the False Bay winemaking philosophy that the vineyard must always, and will always matter. The aim is to highlight the unique characteristics of different vineyard sites. The winemaking team, led by Waterkloof-based Werner Engelbrecht, is working hard to reveal the characters of particular terroirs that have been identified as being most suitable. False Bay wines are wines of character, personality, and quality.
Louis (pictured here with Rory O’Connell) presented a tutored tasting to the students of two of these wines, Chenin Blanc 2010 and Pinotage 2009. Our thanks to Louis for a great introduction to the wines of South Africa, and to one of the newly emerging wine names to watch from South Africa.