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Monthly Archives: October 2013

  • Join the renaissance

    Sherry has officially slipped off the housecoat and hung up its grandma slippers and we are seeing the beginnings of a renaissance on UK shores. So on this day, the day following the inaugural Sherry Institute Tasting at London’s Westbury Hotel, it would be remiss of us not to draw your attention to our trio of wines. Here at Enotria, we love Sherry. So much so that we made these three especially for our customers. This year we launched our very own range of Sherry; it was an exciting project and we are suitably pleased with the results. Our Fino, Amontillado and PX all display great typicity of the traditional, yet recently undiscovered, ‘modern’ styles. These are sourced from the reputable Bodegas Sanchez Romate in the heart of Jerez and were all lovingly selected by our Spanish buyer, Harriet Kininmonth.

    The Fino is pale straw in colour with intense yet delicate aromas of freshly baked bread and almonds. The palate is light, zippy and bone-dry.

    Our Amontillado is amber with complex, intense, saline aromas of hazelnuts and bitter almonds. This wine is bone-dry and goes on and on... and on.

    Last, but certainly not least, is the PX with dense aromas of raisins, dates and honey. The palate is unctuous and complex with a long, candied fruit finish. The sleek and sexy packaging is fantastic and they make the perfect gift – if, unlike us, you have the willpower not to tuck in prior!

  • Thelema - 2013 Harvest Report

    News from Thelema: We had a lovely long wet winter prior to this year’s harvest, which frustrated most Capetonians. Rain and cold temperatures are however great for our vines’ dormancy requirements. Spring in the Stellenbosch winelands started late, with good rains to supplement the vines active growth during this period.

     Strong winds during October and November are a yearly concern for our vineyard team. The Cape’s South Easter is known for blowing so strong it tips off

    young shoots and blows away the precious flowers before they can become berries. All these things could have an negative impact on our tonnage. Our vines recovered well and we harvested a record of just over 1000 tonnes from our Thelema and Sutherland vineyards combined.

     There were a few drizzly days early in the harvest, especially on our Elgin farm. Rot was a concern, but we managed to cut out the quality fruit for the winery. The other minor problem is that all the white varieties in Elgin ripened at the same time, so there was enormous pressure on everybody to get the grapes in as fast as possible. The winery staff worked long hours and drank much beer! As they say, it takes a lot of beer to make good wine.

     From a flavour point of view, the 2013 harvest has produced wines with lovely crisp acids and strong varietal character in all the white wine varieties, especially Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. The early varieties such as Pinot Noir look fabulous – tiny berries with brilliant colour and flavour. Our reds in general show good colour and aromas, and are slowly finishing with malolactic fermentation in barrel.

     Post harvest (Autumn) is probably one of the most beautiful times of year on the farm. The colours and the light are extraordinary and it makes us realise how lucky we are to make wine on this piece of “Heaven on Earth”, called Thelema. The 2013 harvest will go down as a challenging one; but all in all, the quality looks great and we have full confidence in our 2013 vintage wines.

     And here at Enotria HQ, we look forward to tasting them all as soon as we possibly can!



  • The Dream has become reality!

    In July, Enotria joined up with Tesco and together we launched a competition to create a completely bespoke range of wines, created by a community of customers (through social media). The winner was picked on the 23rd of July and the wine has just launched on-shelf at Tesco.  Is this the first ever crowd-sourced wine? We are tentatively laying claim to that crown!

    The wines are created and bottled by Stellenbosch Vineyards and the varietals were chosen at a tasting for Tesco customers and bloggers in July. There was a long line-up of potential blends and attendees devotedly sipped their way through them all before the winning wines were selected. After this, it was up to the social community to help create and decide on the name and the label design via an app on the Tesco Facebook site. From the hundreds of entries submitted, the end result is a pair of wines called Enaleni’s Dream - a Shiraz and a Chardonnay.

    The label design by Rebecca Boamah was selected as the most popular and is now firmly stuck on all the bottles of the new wines. Her prize was a trip to South Africa to meet the Enaleni community and the workers at the winery, as well as visiting the bottling plant where the final wines were created.

    Wilhemina, one of the farm owners in South Africa, came to London specifically to launch the new wines at Tesco Wine Fair. It was her first trip away from her hometown and a great opportunity for her to see firsthand the reaction to the wines and to tell the story of Enaleni’s Dream.

    Until recently, Enaleni was part of the neighbouring Nagenoeg Estate. In 2009 Schalk Visser, one of the owners of Nagenoeg, gave the piece of land to the farm workers living on his farm as part of a Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) and WIETA accredited project. It was partly funded by the South African government as well as by Schalk Visser himself. A community of 23 individual beneficiaries and their families live on-site and 14 of them are full-time workers on the farm, with most of these families having lived there for generations. Until now, they have only been able to sell their grapes to other wine makers, now that ‘The Social Wine’ has been created and bottled, this will create a sustainable revenue stream for the Enaleni community who will then be able to put profits back into community projects – namely education and healthcare.

    All children in the community are encouraged to go to school and to stay in school – rather than leaving early to begin working. In many cases, where children show talent, the community will try and get a bursary for the specific children. This was the case with Wilhemina's son, Ashrick, who received a bursary to attend school in Stellenbosch (where he was something of a star pupil). He then received a further bursary to study at Stellenbosch University where he is currently in his second year studying to be a Doctor.

    Link through for a great video from Enaleni’s Dream –

  • Extreme Winemaking on Etna

    Winemaking on Etna is not for the faint-hearted. Luckily for us Planeta is up for the challenge and are producing some seriously fantastic results!

    Planeta completed their Etna winery last year “just a few seconds before the harvest,” and Francesca and Alessio Planeta visited us this week here at Park Royal Towers to launch their new collection of five wines.

    Planeta has already built wineries in Menfi, Vittoria, Sambuca di Sicilia and Noto, and in 2008 they bought their first parcel of land in Castiglione di Sicilia, on the north side of the Etna volcano. Since 2008 the family has busily been collecting vineyards, which are almost exclusively planted with the local varieties Carricante and Nerello Mascalese, although there is also a small amount of Riesling.

    The first wine is a traditional method sparkling Carricante that shows great fruit, beautifully taut structure and racy acidity. So, if you’re looking for some sparkling, be sure to try this one!

    The still wine entry level tier is made up of two wines – Etna Rosso and Etna Bianco, which are made respectively from 100% Nerello Mascalese and 100% Carricante.

    Although currently positioned only a few pounds higher – until the vines have matured and the winemaking has been further refined – the upper tier is represented by a red and white under the “Eruzione 1614” label, which commemorates one of the most dramatic eruptions in the volcano’s history, that lasted ten years.

    Again, the varieties used here are Nerello Mascalese for the red (although this time including some older bush vines) and Carricante for the white, with just a 5% splash of Riesling added. Explaining this decision to introduce Riesling to the otherwise indigenous mix, Alessio, in true winemaker style, said that he was just too tempted by the volcanic soils and the idea is to give a more complex nose and more shape to the wine. What winemaker could possibly be expected to resist the opportunity to grow Riesling at high altitude?!

    Planeta’s arrival in the Etna region signals a period of change in the region’s winemaking ambitions. In the ‘90s there weren’t a lot of quality producers, but now there is a wave of more boutique growers who are pouring heart and soul into better understanding the unique soils and those varieties that really work best on Etna.

    It’s a long harvest for Planeta – typically Menfi takes place in mid-August and Etna finishes up in the second half of October. So here’s to a fantastic end to the 2013 vintage.

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