South Africa

Lourens Family

Howard John 2021

A fine and precise red blend, from Swartland vines

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Franco Lourens spent a few years working with the great Chris Alheit before devoting himself entirely to his own range of wines. Although he was still extremely modest, he was inevitably drawn to join Chris Alheit , Eben Sadie, Adi Badenhorst, Duncan Savage and others in the glittering constellation of South African New Wave stars. Sharing a winery with his good friend Lukas Van Loggerenberg, Franco works at various sites across the Western Cape, including the country's oldest Verdelho vineyard and two exceptional sites at Piekenierskloof.

This vintage was named after Franco Lourens' father, whose image appears on the label. It is a blend of Grenache , Cinsault and Syrah , coming from goblet-cut vines, in a vineyard practicing arid farming (no irrigation in arid zones). The vines all come from Swartland on soils of eroded granite, granite sand and ferruginous marl. The grapes were all picked and sorted by hand before fermentation. The production of this wine includes spontaneous fermentation in whole clusters, light extraction and aging for 10 months in old oak barrels of 300L and 500L . It was bottled with no fining and just filtration. This wine reveals notes of strawberry , cherry , cranberry , fig , freshly cracked peppercorns , pomegranate , red flowers , garrigue and Asian spices . On the palate, it has freshness and suppleness, with fine tannins and a moderate alcohol level. The finish reveals subtle mineral and saline notes.

Grape varieties : 50% Grenache, 30% Cinsault and 20% Syrah

Alcohol : 13%

Guard : 5-10 years

To be enjoyed with a pork terrine with pepper, a tartare with a knife, veal paupiettes with peppers or even gnocchi with tomatoes and basil.

The first vines were planted in South Africa by Dutch settlers in the 1650s, although wine production did not really begin to take off until the arrival of French Protestants, in the 1680s, with their skills and their knowledge of viticulture. Stellenbosch is also a historic wine region, with the first vineyards being planted there in the 1690s.

Today South Africa is one of the most important wine producing countries in the southern hemisphere. With over 300 years of winemaking history, it is often described as a bridge between the Old and New Worlds. The majority of wines are produced using New World winemaking techniques, but they often have more in common stylistically with their Old World counterparts. Since the end of apartheid, South African wine has received international attention and acclaim for its wide variety of styles.

South Africa's wine industry is spread across the lush and rugged landscape of the Western Cape. Here, the abundance of mountains, valleys and plateaus allows winemakers to produce a wide variety of styles. Vineyards can also be found in the Orange River region of the Northern Cape, where the flat, arid landscape is dominated by the Kalahari Desert. Most of South Africa's wine regions have a Mediterranean climate, strongly influenced by the meeting of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

The country's signature grape variety is Pinotage, an indigenous cross of Pinot Noir and Cinsaut that is rarely found in quantity in other wine-producing countries. Shiraz (Syrah) is also widely planted, as are Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot (often combined in a Bordeaux blend). South African Chardonnay, Chenin and Sauvignon Blanc have become popular internationally in recent years.

Main Region: Western Cape

It is by far the best known and most emblematic geographical area of ​​South Africa. It is home to the prestigious regions of Stellenbosch, Paarl and Cape Town can be considered the epicenter of the wine region; the climate is essentially Mediterranean. The Western Cape region is crossed by spectacular mountain ranges which are particularly important for viticulture because they form particularly interesting microclimates for varietal diversity.

The sub-region: The Swartland

Traditionally a cereal-producing region, Swartland, whose name means "Black Land" in Dutch, has become in around fifteen years one of the most emblematic wine-growing regions in South Africa. The topography of the region is very varied and vineyards can be found on mountainsides or on the rolling hills that dot the region. The climate is warm Mediterranean with oceanic influences as we get closer to the Atlantic coast. The warm climate greatly reduces the incidence of disease. The rainfall is 400 mm per year but the region includes many plots of old, non-irrigated vines with very low yields. The floors are mainly composed of slates. There are also pockets of granite particularly around the Paardeberg mountain. Most vineyards are goblet pruned, a pruning which provides strong resistance to heat and drought. The main grape varieties of the region are Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Chenin Blanc.

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