Only in the Swartland: Hárslevelű and an underwater wine

I have just written up my visit to Swartland producer Lammershoek, which you can read here.

It was unusual for two reasons. First of all, they’re making a new series of wines, called ‘Cellar Foot’. These are heaven for wine geeks: oddities bottles in small quantities. I tried one, as yet unreleased example: a varietal Hárslevelű, which is a Hungarian variety.

Lammershoek Cellar Foot The Hárslevelű 2010 Swartland, South Africa
12% alcohol. Just 800 cases made, and not released yet. Will be around 250 Rand. Grapes are crushed by feet in a basket press. Full yellow colour. Remarkable stuff: apples, herbs, spice, tangy acidity and lemony freshness. Powerful, fresh and slightly oxidative. Long and tangy: a crazy wine. 93/100

lammershoek underwater wine

Secondly, and perhaps more weirdly, Craig Hawkins has been making an underwater wine. Barrels of Syrah have been kept submerged (not as easy as it sounds) in a fermenting vat. This will also be sold under the Lammershoek Cellar Foot label.

It’s made with no added sulphur dioxide, and has been kept in a barrel underwater since February 20th 2011 (this was tasted in November 2011).

lammershoek underwater wine tasting

Syrah 2011 Underwater Wine
Very fresh, precise and pure with firm structure and lovely taut cherry and berry fruit. No signs of reduction. Very clean and pure.

7 comments to Only in the Swartland: Hárslevelű and an underwater wine

  • Keith prothero

    The Swartland ROCKS. I love Lammershoek wine as I do most of the wine made in this region.Sarah Ahmed has an interesting piece on some of the young new talented winemakers there

  • Andy

    Jamie, What is their rationale for submerging the barrels of Syrah?

  • Steve

    did you try the roulette red? I swear by it for eight quid

  • Daniel Horvath

    Would love to taste the Hárslevelű! How did it compare to Hungarian examples?

  • I haven’t tasted many Hungarian examples, so can’t comment on the comparison
    Submerging? There’s virtually no oxygen transmission through the barrel staves.

  • Andrew Halliwell

    Another way to get no oxygen transmission is to put the wine in a stainless steel tank. And you could always throw in a few staves too, if you felt like it. Seems easier somehow.

  • Marie

    Interesting article. In Spain also there is a cellar producing underwater wine called Crusoe Treasure ( with incredible results.

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