Elgin vintage experience 2, Paul Cluver

Paul Cluver is the pioneering wine farm of Elgin. Dr Paul Cluver, a leading neurological consultant, planted vines here in 1987. ‘Everyone thought we were crazy,’ he said, because at the time apples were the main crop in the valley, and they were commercially successful. In the late 1990s, though, it was a tough time [...]

Elgin vintage experience 1, Iona

Werner Muller, winemaker Iona

The first day of my vintage experience in South Africa’s Elgin region was spent at Iona. I was with Werner Muller, the winemaker, for the day. Iona have three properties: the Iona farm itself, Brocha, and Langrug – all are quite different. Langrug is the first to be harvested and is [...]

In Elgin, South Africa, day 1

I’m currently in South Africa’s Elgin Valley, which I visited last October for the Chardonnay Symposium. I’m here to experience vintage with four different producers: Iona, Almenkerk, Paul Cluver and Elgin Ridge. I’ll be working as a cellar rat, and documenting the experience in pictures and film. I’m really looking forward to it.

I’ve had a [...]

Wines of the year (5) South African stars

I’m continuing the theme of wines of the year. This year I tasted a lot of very good South African wines, both on my three visits, and also in London. These are the ones I liked the most, out of a very strong selection. These are seriously good wines.

Kershaw Deconstructed Chardonnay CY95 Lake District Bokkeveld [...]

The remarkable Deconstructed wines of Richard Kershaw, Elgin, South Africa

Richard Kershaw is a British ex-pat and MW who has been making his own wines out of Elgin for a few years now. Previously he was winemaker at Mulderbosch. Richard has received lots of critical acclaim for his Chardonnays, and has been pivotal in leading the current Elgin Chardonnay crusade: his new releases represent a [...]

Elgin Ridge, a biodynamic pioneer in South Africa's Elgin region

Elgin Ridge winery from the air

Brian and Marion Smith are biodynamic pioneers in the Elgin Valley, with their Elgin Ridge wine estate. I visited them for a look around the vineyards with vineyard manager Taurai Matunbwa, and then a tasting with winemaker Kosie van de Merwe. I really like what’s going on here, and [...]

In Elgin: Corder Wines

I met Ian Corder (above) at Almenkerk, where his wines are made. [As an aside, he kindly offered to take me up in his autogyro to see the Elgin Valley from the air. You can read about this, and watch the video here.] The vineyard that is now Corder Wines  was originally an apple farm when [...]

Elgin wine region: Almenkerk

Almenkerk began when Joep van Almenkerk moved out to South Africa from Belgium in 2002 and bought a 32 hectare apple farm. He wanted to turn it into a wine farm – apples were bad business at the time and the region was looking very promising for grapes – and he asked his son, Joris, [...]

Elgin wine region: visiting Iona, including a Chardonnay vertical

Iona is one of the leading wineries in Elgin. Currently, there are 60 hectares under vine here on two sites, and 400 tons pass through the winery, which on my visit was lacking a roof. Owner Andrew Gunn took it off so he can make the winery a bit taller.

Andrew Gunn, Iona

Winemaking here has [...]

Video and pictures: Elgin from the air

Here’s a short film and some pictures from my gyrocopter flight over Elgin with Ian Corder. It was an amazing experience. But gyrocopters are tiny and it was a little bit scary. Thankfully Ian is a safe pilot.

Pictures:

Lothian

 

Almenkerk

Elgin Ridge winery

The currently roofless Iona winery

Iona, house

Iona

Ian Corder