Friday the 6th of August 2010 is a momentous day in the history of Seven Springs Vineyard as it was the day we bottled our first ever wines, our 2010 Sauvignon Blanc. A total of 4,300 bottles of the wine were bottled at Iona Vineyards, www.iona.co.za, in Elgin. Our wines will spend a couple of weeks recovering from ‘bottle shock’, then be labelled and made available for sale within South Africa and the UK.
Seven Springs Vineyard has just had another article published in leading South African online wine site, BottlePlatePillow. The site, www.bottleplatepillow.com, aims to give visitors accurate information on all South African wine farms. This will allow people to find detailed information on each farm to make their visit to each winery more memorable. Information such as whether there is a restaurant or accommodation on the farm, up to date news on wineries, special vineyard events, special offers and much much more. BottlePlatePillow site creator, Charles Lourens, has produced an excellent site which we are sure will become as much part of the South African wine experience as the Platter South African Wine Guide, www.johnplatterguide.com. Go directly to the report here http://www.bottleplatepillow.com/blog/seven-springs-vineyard-from-the-beginning-by-tim-pearson/
Day 2 – Thursday May 20th – The second day began with Kim and Tim meeting with Jo Wehring, UK Market Manager for Wines of South Africa (WOSA), www.wosa.co.za. Jo discussed ways that WOSA could be of a help to us in helping to eastablish our brand / wines here in the UK. WOSA were also hosting a South African Chenin Blanc tasting which highlighted the success that South Africa is having with this versatile varietal. Onwards to a tasting on the Seckfords Agencies stand, www.seckfordagencies.co.uk, for the second time with Peter Finlayson where we tasted his complete range of stunning wines. Here we were joined again by Tara O’Leary, http://winepassionista.com/, and Lynda Harvey, www.thewineplace.co.uk. Lynda has been a keen follower of Seven Springs Vineyard and is opening a wine shop in Berkshire in the near future. We then spent some time looking at different screw enclosures for future use with our wines. After a brief lunch we met with ex sommelier Richard Mitton from Worthing who hopes to set up a wine shop in Sussex later this year. Our next port of call was a tasting with Hein Koegelenberg, http://heinkoegelenberg.typepad.com/blog/, CEO of La Motte, www.la-motte.com, and owner of Leopards Leap Wines, www.leopards-leap.com. Hein gave us a fantastic tour of the La Motte winery when we were in the Cape in March and again tasting his range of wines here confirmed them as real class acts. The Pierneef range in particular standing out, if you like syrah / shiraz then get your hands on a bottle or two of these wines. Lastly, but not least, we tasted the wines from the De Wetshof Estate from Robertson, www.dewetshof.com. Brothers Peter, winemaker, and Johan de Wet, Sales and Marketing, are well known to us and their range of Chardonnays are always well received.
We left the show tired but encouraged. The band of South African wine producers are a great bunch of people and we feel proud to become one of them.
DAY 1 – Wednesday May 19th – Our annual pilgrimage to the London International Wine Fair proved to be very positive again for Seven Springs Vineyard. On Wednesday Vaughan and Tim attended the event and met with a good friend of Seven Springs, David Derbyshire aka http://oenotype.blogspot.com/, and we spent most of the day going around the show with him. Some of the highlights of the day saw us catch up with our old friend Ken Forrester of www.kenforresterwines.com and we sampled his fantastic range of Chenin Blanc’s culminating with the fabulous FMC. Moving on we then met with Liesl Rust and Paul Cluver of www.cluver.com and tasted the wonderful wines they produce from the Elgin region of South Africa. Try their Noble Late Harvest Riesling, one of South Africa’s best sweet wines (along with Ken Forrester’s T and Mullineux’s Straw Wine). We then met with near neighbour Peter Finlayson of www.bouchardfinlayson.co.za and tasted his stunning range of wines, flagship Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Hemel en Aarde Valley. Then we moved on to see The Wine Gang, www.thewinegang.com, where all the ‘gang’ were there Olly Smith, Tom Cannavan, Tim Atkin MW, Antony Rose and Joanna Simon. They hosted a stand displaying their top 100 wines based on their top scoring wines of the last 12 months. Highlight of this visit was Antony Rose attempting the hoola hoop…ring a ring a rose! Whilst tasting some of the wines we met our friend Chris Mullineux, http://mullineuxwines.com/, who was paying a flying visit to the show between trips to California and the south of France. Then we met with Tara O’Leary aka http://winepassionista.com/, Tara being the first person to write an article on Seven Springs Vineyard. After lunch we spent time with our brand designer Marcel de Quervain of www.curv8.com and spent the afternoon with him. David then introduced us to Rowan Gormley of www.nakedwines.com. Rowan has asked if he can taste our wines once they are bottled as he would be interested, if the wines are of a good quality, in adding Seven Springs to his impressive portfolio of South African wines. We then met up with daughter Kim who spent the last two hours with us culminating in a tasting of the legendary Simonsig Estate, www.simonsig.co.za , where we spoke with owner Pieter Malan and tasted their lovely range of wines. Fabulous Chenin Blanc’s as always from Simonsig..their recently bottled 2010 is a very fruity and vibrant example of this variety. Vaughan then drove back to Warwickshire and Kim, Marcel and Tim headed off for a curry and a bottle of Cobra. Who should we bump into at the curry house?…none other than Pieter Malan from Simonsig….a small world indeed. Then off to bed, ready for Thursday and day 2.
Seven Springs Vineyard is pleased to announce that Riana van der Merwe, our winemaker, is to work at leading Oregon winery, Adelsheim Vineyard, http://www.adelsheim.com, for the 2010 harvest. This is a great opportunity for Riana to work with a leading U.S. winery producing top Pinot Noirs. The experience will give Riana an insight into leading northern hemisphere Pinot Noir production, especially as our young Pinot vines are nearing maturity.
Thank you the Two Wine Brothers, Brad and Terry Johnson from Iowa, USA, for choosing Seven Springs Vineyard for your first online wine interview. We are proud that you chose us for this feature and look forward to you guys sampling our wines. USA here we come.
Ex Sommelier, now wine writer, blogger and wine ‘passionista’, Tara Devon, has written an article on Seven Springs Vineyard on her blog. Check out Tara’s work on the link below. Thanks for the article Tara and your passion for South African wine really shows. Once our wines are ready for tasting we will get some bottles to you for a tasting and a review.
Tim Pearson from Seven Springs Vineyard is to appear on the US radio show ‘Wine Talk with Stu the Wine Guru’ on the 7th of April. This is agreat opportunity for Tim to promote, not only Seven Springs wines, but wines from the Overberg area and from South Africa in general. Although our wines will not be available in the USA until 2011, this was too good an opportunity for us to pass up as we will get excellent internet exposure as well.
Our Sauvignon Blanc is still in the fermentation stage and the aroma’s will change, but initially we are getting beautiful fruit flavours with lime and fig on the nose and palate. The wine has a lovely full palate and the acid is keeping it crisp.
The Chardonnay in oak barrels has finished fermenting. Once fermentation is complete the flavours dissapear, but give it some time and they return. The acid is good and giving the juice a fresh palate. We will now keep stirring the lees, called batonnage in France, filling out the palate and also imparting more flavour. In time the fruity flavours will return. The batonnage is going to make the wine more complex with the lees and the wood integrating with the wine’s profile.
Our unoaked Chardonnay is almost done with it’s tank fermentation. Good alcohol with flavours of grapefruit. We are leaving this wine on it’s lees and stirring it as well. Throughout the process we shall taste the wine until we are satisfied with the flavour and palate profiles.
Syrah just came in on Monday the 8th of March and the colour from the beginning was immense. The skins are very brittle, so we are handling the grapes very carefully. The berries have been cold soaking for 2 days and we will look to press them tomorrow, the 11th of March. Prior to fermentation the colour is excellent and this should result in a very fruity wine with mulberry and rasperry jam flavours from superb ripe fruit.
Riana van der Merwe, Winemaker
Our Syrah was picked on Monday the 8th of March and the temperature reached a high of 38.9 degrees centigrade, phew, one of the highest temperatures recorded in the valley in recent years. The grapes look an excellent quality and the analysis today will determine the exact quality. Our winemaker Riana said ” I was really impressed with the quality of the grapes and my heartfelt thanks go to all the pickers who worked wonders getting the grapes in. I am also very happy with our Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay which are ‘gurgling’ away nicely in their fermentation tanks. Time will tell, but for our first harvest I am cautiously optomistic of some excellent wines being made”.
Owner Tim Pearson commented ” I can only echo Riana’s comments about the pickers and would like to thank Riana for her input. If the wine turns out as good as the effort that Riana has put into this we will have some top wines here. My thanks also go to Peter Davison, our vineyard manager, who has done an exceptional job getting the grapes to this stage”. The stage is now set for Riana to show us what she can do in the winery. Watch this space.