Tag Archives: south Africa

Winemaker profile: Elizma Visser, Olifantsberg

Elizma joined the Olifantsberg team in 2015 following extensive winemaking experience; studying Oenology and Viticulture in Stellenbosch and working in France and Italy, before returning home to South Africa.

Her time making wine in Europe proved to be an excellent springboard to go on and start creating elegant Rhône style wines of her own.

Elizma certainly has her work cut out, looking after all areas of the management of the vineyards and winery at Olifantsberg. In the vineyards, Elizma’s focus is on taking care of the soils and maintaining the quality and sustainability of the vines. Whereas her focus in the winery, is to get the best expression of the fruit using a variety of techniques.

Here are a few facts you may not have known about Elizma:

 

  • Wine is a family affair! Elizma is married to a fellow winemaker and they have two young sons
  • A music fan, she likes; Indie Rock, Alternative and Acoustic and would love to pick up learning the guitar again
  • It’s not just rock music that’s a hit with Elizma, she also enjoys collecting rocks
  • Before embarking on her current career Elizma had ambitions to learn Greek and study Philosophy but now it is her winemaking philosophy that is centre stage
  • Favourite quote: “Most people are about as happy as they make up their mind to be”
  • Elizma could have ended up on a very different road, if she hadn’t pursued wine, she would have liked to have become a professional rally driver and knows quite a bit about cars
  • Floristry is a big passion for Elizma. She hopes to own a flower shop one day… with a small wine bar inside of course. The Olifantsberg Blanc, with its floral notes, would surely make a great flower shop wine!

 

For more information on Elizma’s wines at Olifantsberg, contact your account manager.

Winemaker profile: Samantha O’Keefe

Samantha O’Keefe has found the diamond in the rough with Lismore Estate. Samantha’s story starts with her moving away from California, to Greyton in Western Cape, in hopes of having a different way of life for her and her family.

The site she fell in love with, Riviersonderend ranch, is 300 meters in altitude at the foothills of a mountain so the vines are chilled by the winter snow and then nourished by the African summer sun, producing fantastic small production, hand crafted cool climate wines.

She bought a dairy farm which she then transformed into a vineyard with the goal of producing superb Burgundian style wines. Samantha then built her own house, constructed the winery and planted the vines on the 25 hectare of the farm suitable for grape growing.

With no background or education in winemaking, and having previously worked in television in LA, winemaking to Samantha was more than just producing wines – it was a method to build something for the family.

After the tough journey of planting vines and making wine, Samantha was very close to giving up the dream of becoming a winemaker and planned to return to California with her sons. But then, Robert Parker galvanized her dreams, writing amazing reviews of her wines in Wine Advocate, and Tim Atkin followed close behind praising Samantha’s Viogniers. Her wines took off internationally, making Lismore Estate Vineyards a huge success story!

The wines Samantha produces are terroir driven and inspired by Rhône producers in Côte Rôtie and Condrieu.

We are extremely proud to be the UK supplier of these hugely impressive, critically-acclaimed wines with six in our portfolio.

For more details, speak to your account manager.

Royal Ascot 2018: What to expect

Hallgarten recently became Official Wine Supplier to Ascot Racecourse, exclusively supplying all still wines to the world’s most famous racecourse.

The partnership will see Hallgarten supply wine across the site, including at Royal Ascot. Michelin-Starred chefs Simon Rogan, Philip Howard and Raymond Blanc OBE will all showcase a specially selected range of wines in their respective restaurants during the Royal Meeting.

Royal Ascot is one of the most iconic race meetings across the world – there’s nothing quite like it. From the Royal procession, to the style and fashion, to the strawberries and cream (and the racing of course), over 300,000 people are expected to attend.

There’s a lot to consider across the five day spectacle, we’ve taken a closer look at what you can expect.

At Royal Ascot’s award-winning, fifth-floor restaurant, On 5, with its extraordinary garden terrace offering panoramic views of the racecourse. What will Michelin starred Philip Howard be pouring with his signature menus…

White:

Tenuta Ammiraglia, Massovivo, Toscana, Vermentino 
A lovely, intense straw colour, which leads to an impressive bouquet of fragrant blossom and exotic fruits, along with a fascinating vein of earthy minerality which is classic of this area. Fresh, crisp and sapid, but well sustained by its structure, it has an intriguing hint of almond on the finish.

Swartland Winery, ‘Founders’, Swartland, Chenin Blanc
An expressive Chenin Blanc, showing vibrant aromas of ripe passion fruit, guava and pineapple, underpinned by refreshing citrus notes. Well balanced with a full, fruity palate and a refreshing minerality on the finish.

Rosé:

Gérard Bertrand ‘Gris Blanc’, Pays d’Oc
The palest of salmon pinks, this is a wonderfully pure, fresh flavoured wine, with vibrant fruit aromatics. The fruity characters are echoed on the palate, which has a lovely minerality and a zesty finish.

Red:

Saint Clair, ‘Origin’, Marlborough, Pinot Noir 
Aromas of sun-kissed dark berries, boysenberry and freshly picked blackberries, are interlaced with toasted wood notes and a hint of dark chocolate. The palate is full of sumptuous dark berries, layered with freshly ground coffee beans and dark chocolate. A hint of cinnamon spice leads into a savoury finish.

 

Raymond Blanc OBE returns as chef-in-residence to the sixth-floor Panoramic Restaurant, which offers one of the finest views across the track and down the straight mile. What will Raymond be pouring this year with his gastronomic menu…

 

White:

Domaine Tabordet ‘Laurier’, Pouilly-Fumé
A classic Pouilly Fumé showing minerality complemented by notes of exotic fruits, tangerine, pink grapefruit and spicy undertones. The palate is powerful and refreshing and delivers a long, flinty finish.

Rosé:

Château de l’Aumérade ‘Cuvée Marie Christine’ Rosé, Cru Classé Côtes de Provence
A lovely pale powder pink hue, with refreshing aromas of grapefruit leading to succulent peach and apricot on the palate. Fruit forward and full, with a hint of spice, this elegant rosé has a refreshing acidity and a long finish.

Red:

Domaine de la Ville Rouge ‘Inspiration’, Crozes-Hermitage 
Deep red, intense aromas of red fruits and black olives. Spicy and peppery notes with silky tannins. An elegant and silky textured wine.

 Sweet:

Château Suduiraut, Castelnau de Suduiraut, Sauternes
This elegantly rich wine shows orange peel and mineral notes on the nose. The palate is full bodied with almonds, spice, honey and candied fruits through to a lovely, lingering finish.

 

Chef Adam Handling, of The Frog E1 and Frog by Adam Handling in Covent Garden, makes his Royal Ascot debut in 2018 as he takes his role as ‘Chef in Residence’ of The Balmoral – a brand new Fine Dining restaurant within the Royal Enclosure.

White:

Gérard Bertrand ‘Terroir’ Picpoul de Pinet
A complex nose, full of citrus and floral notes combined with white peach, exotic fruit and a hint of pineapple. The palate is rich with zesty fruit and a livewire acidity which keeps your taste buds tingling. The finish is long and well rounded.

Rosé:

Saint Clair,’Origin’, Marlborough, Pinot Gris Rosé
Pale salmon in colour, a refreshing rosé with lifted aromas of sun-ripened strawberry, whipped cream and spiced pear. Beautifully balanced and finely structured on the palate with creamy fruit flavours of raspberries and strawberries leading to a hint of spice on the finish.

Red:

Gérard Bertrand ‘Naturalys’, Pays d’Oc, Syrah
A deep colour, with shimmering hints of violet. Generous nose, packed with red fruit and spice. Supple, aromatic and impeccably elegant on the palate, with refined tannins and lively fruit flavours offset by subtle herbaceous aromas.

Sweet:

Quady Winery, ‘Essensia’, California, Orange Muscat
Vibrant orange in colour, this wine delivers luscious sweet oranges and apricots on the palate. The bittersweet orange marmalade notes balance well with the zesty citric acidity.

 

What else to expect by numbers…

56,000
bottles of Champagne

80,000
cups of tea

21,000
jugs of Pimm’s

7,000
rumps of English lamb

3,000
kilos of beef sirloin

3,500
fresh lobsters

 

Steve Daniel: The Cape Crusader

Hallgarten Head Buyer, Steve Daniel, is somewhat of an expert when it comes to tasting and blending wines. Below is a snapshot from his recent trip to the Swartland region of South Africa.

I will not lie visiting South Africa is not a chore. It is one of the most beautiful wine producing countries.

April has now become the month for my annual visit to the Cape. The primary reason is to blend the wines we and several large wine merchants and retailers take from the Swartland Winery. I also use the five days to visit our other South African producers.

I arrived in Cape Town early on Sunday morning, tired and a little stiff after a 12 hour overnight journey in Economy Class. I picked up my car and drove the 90 minutes to Riebeek Kasteel in the heart of the Swartland. Riebeek was established in 1661 and is full of old world charm.

It is also home to many artists and the epicentre for the super trendy Swartland revolution winemakers.

I caught up on my sleep and was rested the following morning after my 90 second shower – there are very strict water restrictions in the region as it has been experiencing drought conditions for 3 years.  I then drove 30 minutes to Swartland Winery for an extensive tasting.

The Winery was set up as a co-op in 1948 and has been through many transformations to the present day. Today it is no longer a co-op but a winery, production unit and bottling plant . They make their own wines and bottle many of the entry level wines from the trendy small boutique Swartland producers. Swartland has access to over 3,600 hectares of vineyards so I was not surprised that my day’s wines consisted of 87 different samples of Chenin, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Pinotage, as well as the rest of the great and the good of the region’s wine grapes.

When confronted with so many samples you need to be ruthless and quickly taste them all and reject any that do not hit the required standard. You then taste through and pick out the superstar samples.

The superstar samples represent around 40 wines. This is an incredibly high number as I usually only select around 10% – it is a good year in the region. Minuscule yields due to the drought. I make our selections and blends for our wines and retire to Riebeek for a well earned dinner.

That night the heavens opened and it rained for the whole week. People in the Cape were very happy and I set off to Stellenbosch and my remaining visits.

WOTM: Olifantsberg, Grenache Blanc, Breedekloof 2016

Recently awarded 91 points by South Africa’s leading wine magazine, Winemag, the Olifantsberg, Grenache Blanc, Breedekloof 2016 is a rich 100% Grenache made by Elizma Visser in the Breedekloof wine district is our Wine of the Month in March.

In a nutshell:

Richly textured and beautifully balanced, with delicious notes of stone fruits, lime blossom and green herbal notes with a hint of salinity on the finish.

The producer:

Olifantsberg is passionate about producing authentic wines with a true sense of place, which reflect the unique location of  their vineyard. The focus is on sustainable farming and winemaking practices, resulting in limited intervention in the both the vineyard and cellar.

The team are fully committed to understanding their terroir and managing their natural resources through conservation, which adds to the singularity of their wines. The unique terroir with its  combination of schist soils, constant winds and elevation, produce concentrated fruit that results in elegant, fresh and age-worthy wines.

The wine:

The grapes were whole bunch pressed to ensure an elegant extraction of colour, aromas and flavours. Natural fermentation took place in seasoned French oak barrels and large oak foudres which added layers of complexity. The wine was aged for 10 months on its fine lees, adding texture and richness.

Serving suggestion:

Accompanies fresh seafood, rich fish dishes or cuisine with a subtle hint of spice.

WOTM: Olifantsberg, Chenin Blanc 2014

In a nutshell:

The Olifantsberg, Chenin Blanc 2014 is full of ripe tropical fruits combined with honey and spicy apple notes, beautifully textured.

The producer

Olifantsberg is passionate about producing authentic wines with a true sense of place, which reflect the unique location of their vineyard. The focus is on sustainable farming and winemaking practices, resulting in limited intervention in the both the vineyard and cellar. The team are fully committed to understanding their terroir and managing their natural resources through conservation, which adds to the singularity of their wines. The unique terroir with its combination of schist soils, constant winds and elevation, produce concentrated fruit that results in elegant, fresh and age-worthy wines.

The wine

The wine was wild yeast fermented in one third 2000L foudres, one third seasoned barrels and one third stainless steel tanks. The wine was kept on the lees for 10 months before stabilization and bottling.

The tasting note:

The color a very light yellow. The nose is complex with ripe pineapple, passion fruit and mango. The palate is very elegant and fresh but complex with a lovely texture. This wine already drinks well but definitely has ageing capacity.

Steve Daniel Introduces Lismore’s First Pinot Noir Vintage

 

In a nutshell:

A vibrant and elegant Burdgundian style Pinot Noir with striking purity of fruit and attractive aromas of sour cherry, sweet spice and a touch of cherry blossom. Bright acidity and enticing red berry fruit with forest floor notes and a soft, linear finish.

 

In the Papers: Bloemendal Takes Time On The Independent

On the Independent online on Sunday, Terry Kirby, looked at which South African wines would improve if you weren’t to drink them now – an interesting idea.

Kirby suggested resting Bloemendal’s Suider Terras, 2014, on the rack for 10 years:

“Most Sauvignon Blanc is best drunk young and fresh when it is at its most vibrant…but not here. This already barrel-aged wine from a boutique winery can be drunk now, but is designed to develop even more in the bottle, so the limey, grassy acidity mellows into something structured and intense. Richer fish dishes are in order here, now or in the next decade.”

A little patience can go a long way…

Tim Atkin Selects South Africa’s Finest

Tim Atkin’s 2016 South Africa Special Report has highlighted the country’s finest wines, including a broad selection from our suppliers. In his fourth annual guide to South Africa, Atkin says the 2015 vintage is: “the best I’ve tasted in 26 years of writing about the country’s wines” and should be a springboard to global recognition.

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95 points Lismore Viognier 2014 Wines of the Year – Other Whites

Greyton (14%)

With just 0.8 hectares in the ground, my only criticism of Sam O’Keefe’s world class Viognier is that there isn’t more of it. Located on a protected, south-facing slope, which contributes to the wine’s freshness and vivacity, it’s a voluptuous, peach and nectarine fruity wine with subtle oak and balancing acidity. The closest the Cape comes to Condrieu. Drink: 2016-19

 

95 points Lismore Syrah 2015 Wines of the Year – Syrah

Greyton (14.5%)

If the 2014 Lismore Syrah was noteworthy – the 2012 and 2013 were not released – then this is even better. Deeply coloured and highly perfumed, with stony, granitic, liquorice, black pepper and tapenade notes, complemented by fynbos aromas, granular tannins, subtle oak and pithy acidity. Exceptional winemaking. Drink: 2017-25

 

93 points Lismore Barrel-Fermented Sauvignon Blanc 2014

Greyton (13.5%)

The Sauvignon Blanc at Lismore is planted on the crest of the hill on an unirrigated block. Made in an oxidative style like a Chardonnay, it’s fermented in older wood and sees 11 months of lees contact. The result is creamy, savoury and slightly smoky, with notes of gunflint and grapefruit and impressive palate length. Drink: 2016-19

 

93 points Lismore Chardonnay 2014

Greyton (13.5%)

It’s tempting to see something of a California style in this wine because of the origins of its winemaker, Sam O’Keefe. It’s a rich, honeyed, peachy style with impressive concentration, savoury oak and enough acidity to keep the wine fresh and focused on the palate. Drink: 2016-19

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95 points Olifantsberg Blanc 2015 Wines of the Year – Other Whites Bordeaux White Blends

Breedekloof (13.5%)

Elizma Visser’s brilliant white blend was an exciting find for me this year. Sourced from young vines, this cuvée of mostly Roussanne with Grenache Blanc and Chardonnay reminded me of the thrill of tasting Chris Alheit’s wines for the first time. Savoury, spicy and balanced, with leesy, natural yeast notes and a tapering finish. Drink: 2016-20 (FUTURE VINTAGE NOT IN UK STOCK YET)

 

92 points Olifantsberg Silhouette 2013

Breedekloof (13.5%)

Grown on the shale soils of the Breedekloof, this is a stony, spicy blend of Syrah with 10% Carignan, Mourvèdre and Grenache. Perfumed, elegant and spicy with tangy acidity and a fir finish. A brand to keep an eye on. Drink: 2016-21

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95 points Bloemendal Suider Terras Sauvignon Blanc 2015 Wines of the Year Bordeaux White Blends

Durbanville (13.5%)

These contoured, south- and south-west facing vineyards consistently produce one of my favourite Cape Sauvignon Blancs. Expertly wooded, with zesty acidity, a creamy mid-palate and grapefruit and smoked lemon flavours, it’s like a top Pessac-Léognan at a very affordable price. Drink: 2016-20 (FUTURE VINTAGE NOT IN UK STOCK YET)

 

93 points Bloemendal Kanonberg Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon 2015

Durbanville (13%)

The combination of Lombard Loubser in the vineyards and Francois Haasbroek in the cellar has taken the Bloemendal wines to new heights. This Sauvignon-based white (with 30% Semillon) is herbal, savoury and refreshing, with classic cool climate flavours and a patina of oak. Drink: 2016-19 (FUTURE VINTAGE NOT IN UK STOCK YET)

 

 93 points Bloemendal Semillon 2014

Durbanville (13%)

Another outstanding white wine from a much-improved winery, this cool climate, appealingly herbal Semillon has just the right amount of oak for added complexity. Cream soda, citrus, lemongrass and dill notes are supported by pithy acidity. Lovely. Drink: 2016-20 (FUTURE VINTAGE IN UK STOCK YET)

 

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94 points Groot Constantia Grand Constance 2013

Constantia (12.5%)

If it weren’t for Vin de Constance, grown nearby at Klein Constantia, this varietal Muscat de Frontignan would be the most celebrated sweet wine in the region. Fermented on skins (hence its deep colour), it’s a complex, dried fruit, orange peel and pastry-like white with rich concentration and 181 grams of residual sugar. Drink: 2016-24

 

90 points Groot Constantia Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Constantia (14%)

Made in what Boela Gerber calls a “cracker vintage”, this is the ripest Sauvignon yet from Groot Constantia. It’s still pretty zesty, aromatic stuff, with 14% Semillon adding some cream soda notes. Herbal and racy, with green olive and lemongrass flavours. Drink: 2016-17

 

Check out what we have to offer from South Africa

Out of Africa: The Hallgarten Buying Team Heads To South Africa In Search of New Wines – Day 4

Cool and manicured, the Beverly Hills of the Cape, ladies who lunch, tourist coach trips, souvenir hunters, roads with pavements. Welcome to Groot Constantia. You want desperately to wipe your shoes before you enter the tasting room. There are three hundred years of history here and this is South Africa’s oldest wine producing estate.

Continue reading Out of Africa: The Hallgarten Buying Team Heads To South Africa In Search of New Wines – Day 4

Out of Africa: The Hallgarten Buying Team Heads To South Africa In Search of New Wines – Day 3

Bloemendal is proving troublesome. The satnav and the iPad both tell us it’s right next door to Durbanville Racecourse, but the roads are closed for tree feeling and we find ourselves lapping the perimeter of the track over and over. But by following the line of the Kanonberg Mountain we eventually find our way there. Continue reading Out of Africa: The Hallgarten Buying Team Heads To South Africa In Search of New Wines – Day 3

Out of Africa: The Hallgarten Buying Team Heads To South Africa In Search of New Wines – Day 2

Steve and I are hanging on for dear life. Standing in the back of a pick-up, we are being thrown around as Stephan Basson slams the truck round the switchback bends of the rutted, bone-crunching trail which leads from the winery up to the surrounding mountains. Continue reading Out of Africa: The Hallgarten Buying Team Heads To South Africa In Search of New Wines – Day 2