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Monthly Archives: August 2010

  • And now, The(lema) News

    Here's the latest from Gyles Webb and the team at Thelema in SA. "The rain this winter seems to have fallen on weekends. This wasn't much fun for those with weekend plans but it was great for our pruning teams. We can't prune in wet weather because horrible little spores of a fungus named eutypa lata get released in rainy weather, and they make a bee-line for fresh pruning wounds, which they infect, causing the vine to die a slow death. Varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon are highly susceptible to this die-back disease, which has a rather charming Afrikaans name: tandpyn (toothache). It's not so charming to have your vines suffering from it however, as there isn't a cure once infected. So we choose to prune on dry days only, and we had lots of these, so much so that by the first week in August we had finished all the pruning on both properties. There are those who like to prune much later, but I'm happy to have this job behind us so that we can climb into the suckering process (removal of unwanted shoots) at an early stage and create that perfect canopy that I dream about every season.

    "Sounds as though we aren't doing anything in the cellar, but that is far from true. We had another big vintage this year which prompted me to take on another full-time winemaking assistant, Duncan Clarke, who celebrated his new post by getting married. The 2010 wines are terrific; our Stellenbosch Sauvignon Blanc is the best we've had for many a year, and all the reds in barrel are very promising. The wines from our Elgin property, Sutherland, continue to impress, and the reds in particular are better than we imagined.

    "While on the topic of Sutherland: many of our customers have become confused by the fact that we produce wines from two properties, one named Thelema and the other Thelema Sutherland, with fairly similar labels. This has prompted our marketing team to come up with a distinct Sutherland label from now on, which will be launched in early September. Hope you like the result of the packaging.

    "And we certainly hope you like the new products! We are very excited to launch a new white wine, the Sutherland Viognier/Roussanne 2009, which was fermented in barrel, and is just delicious, and three red wines, Sutherland Pinot Noir 2009 (very limited quantities, I'm afraid), which is light, as one would expect from a first-crop wine, but has pure varietal expression and lovely balance, Sutherland Syrah 2008, medium-bodied, cracker-jack spicy mouthful and Sutherland Cabernet Sauvignon/Petit Verdot 2008 which is a big, brooding bloke that might require a few years to settle. The Sutherland range is completed with the Chardonnay 2009, the Sauvignon Blanc 2010 and the Rhine Riesling 2009.

    "From the Stellenbosch property we will be releasing the usual suspects, including a super 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, another refreshing Muscat de Frontignan, the off-dry 2009 Rhine Riesling and a lovely 2009 Chardonnay. The reds this year are very impressive with a classic 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, another minty Mint 2008, a very bold Merlot 2008 and the surprise package, the 2007 Shiraz, which is by far the best Shiraz we've done from this property. These reds are complemented by our Mountain Red 2007, which is fruity and easy on the pocket."

    More Thelema news here : www.thelema.co.za

  • Olvena Rosado 2009

  • ¡Olvena está aqui!

    Much excitement here in Park Royal as our new Somontano producers Olvena join our burgeoning Spanish lineup. Harriet, our buyer for Spain takes up the story: “Somontano” literally meaning “under the mountain” is a relatively new D.O. (1984) which lies at the foot of the Pyrenees in the Huesca region. Here traditional styles of winemaking have been largely replaced with a New Wave of modern winemaking, using mainly international varieties. Somontano is an inland DO with a mild to moderate continental climate and the limestone based, calcium rich soils are ideal for grape growing. The cooling winds of the Pyrenees help produce wines that are elegant and balanced. An exciting and up and coming region… Bodegas Olvena combine the traditional art of viticulture and the modern winemaking techniques available today, and have succeeded in creating interesting, unique and contemporary wines. Bodegas Olvena was founded by Antonio Abbad in 2002 and currently produces wines from 177 hectares. The wines…. 2009 Chardonnay, Bodegas Olvena Pale straw colour with a green hue. The nose is dominated by pineapple, peach and exotic fruits. On the palate, a flavoursome, fresh and fruity wine is revealed. A very well-balanced Chardonnay. 2009 Merlot Rosado, Bodegas Olvena Deep raspberry pink in colour the aromas are intensely fruity and floral with notes of red fruit and violet. On the palate, the rosé is dry, elegant and fruity with perfectly balanced acidity. 2009 Tempranillo/Garnacha Joven, Bodegas Olvena A lively and fresh wine with a youthful cherry colour. An intense nose of ripe, cherried fruits followed by a smooth, round palate. Perfectly balanced. 2007 Roble Tempranillo/Cabernet/Merlot, Bodegas Olvena Bright cherry red with hints of youthful purple, the nose is intense, dominated by black fruit notes with a light vanilla touch from the barrels. The palate is equally fruity with medium body, plenty of smoothness and sweet, round tannins. 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Crianza, Bodegas Olvena Intense, deep, garnet red. The aromas are remarkably intense, filled with red fruit, spice and elegant toasty notes. On the palate a velvety mouthfeel precedes a fruit forward wine with redcurrant, raspberry and blackcurrant flavours as well as hints of liquorice, vanilla and nutmeg. A long, lasting finish.

  • MPW and wine

    Marco Pierre White, renowned chef and entrepreneur, describes in the latest issue of Harpers what he looks for when planning a wine range for his restaurants. The man who became the youngest British chef to win 3 Michelin Stars, and whose portfolio of restaurants includes L'Escargot, the Belvedere and the Yew Tree in Highclere, describes the search for interesting yet affordable wines: "It's forever about finding wines that may not necessarily have the brand or awareness... but are good quality. You discover that with your wine suppliers. We use Enotria for all the restaurants." You can read the full interview in latest issue of Harpers.

  • Night harvest in Sicily

    Owen Bird, Enotria Group Winemaker, sends us this interesting missive from a broiling hot Sicily: "It is with great pleasure that I can announce commencement of night harvest operations at Settesoli.

    "Flagged up 3 years ago as a required step in quality production persistent nagging has finally borne fruit. I take my hat off to Production Winemaker Mimmo De Gregorio and Agronomist Fillipo Buttafuoco for pushing this through and working around the clock.

    "After the second night of this the results confirmed what we all know about machine harvested fruit. Last night we went with 13 harvesters in action. They are all controlled by GPS and you can monitor them in real time as to where the machine is and what they are doing."

    "Night Harvest begins at 01:00 and runs to 05:00. First grapes arriving 02:00ish. This allows processing and presses ready to go again for when day fruit kicks in just after 08:00.

    "Co-operative members concerns about loss of intact berries and too much MOG (material other than grape) arriving have been demonstrated as unfounded, who have been working forever with machine harvested fruit know.. Some immediate advantages:

    * getting grapes to press faster and keeping fruit fresh. No more delays in unloading grapes..it's a drive up and dump. 20 minutes from field to press for some Savy Blanc.

    * participating farmers are getting their crop in virtually immediately and not spending the day sitting in line waiting for turn to empty a load.

    *grapes considerably cooler (grapes arriving 21 deg rather than 35+). Immediate benefit in greener juice.

    *spreading of heating loads, chillers can cope better and thus we are getting things down to under 5 degrees faster than before with less use of electricity.

    * will allow us to react faster to changes in weather pattern. This will protect things such as Viognier and Fiano much better from heat waves such as last year. Given that the Pinot Grigio is all in and has hit 14.9%, she's a tough year for winemaking.

    "Obviously, there are some challenges.

    "In order to ensure this is a success we are inspecting each load so as to red card any of the harvesting machine operators who are running too fast through the fields and picking up too much MOG.

    "Moving to a night shift is putting a lot of demands upon the cellar and winemaking team. The skeleton crew also means one young guy has to ride his bike from the In weighbridge to the Out weighbridge; providing me with considerable amusement and the lad with a lot of exercise.

    "There's a lot of work packing wee plastic bags with vitamin C and PMS in order that the machines operators can avoid oxidation of juice given there is a bit of free run in the trailers. So, the lab looks like one of Pablo Escobar's packing sheds!"

  • Glen Carlou Chardonnay 2009

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