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.
Our first ever grapes have been harvested. Chardonnay came off on the 11th of February 2010 and Riana, our winemaker, reports that the quality is first class. Today, Monday the 22nd, and our Sauvignon Blanc is being harvested in ideal conditions. Again the quality is said to be excellent. The ball, Riana, is now in your court and we will see the results when we bottle in June / July.
Seven Springs announced today that it will be making it’s first wines at the award winning Iona Vineyards in Elgin (http://iona.co.za). Before we build a winery we needed somewhere to make our first vintage in 2010 so had to find somewhere to make our debut wines. Iona Vineyards was our first choice and Andrew Gunn, owner of Iona, and John Seccombe, Iona’s winemaker, agreed to allow us to make our wines at this first class winery. Our winemaker, Riana, is looking forward to working with Andrew and John as their expertise will prove invaluable to enable us to produce excellent wines.
Seven Springs is pleased to announce the appointment of Riana van der Merwe as winemaker. Riana comes highly recommended to us by friends Guillaume Nell, winemaker at Backsberg Cellar Estate (http://www.backsberg.co.za) and Corina du Toit, Sales and Marketing Manager at Eikendal Vineyards in Stellenbosch (http://www.eikendal.com). Riana will be responsible for making our first wines and we are confident she will respond to the challenge, she has our full support.
25 year old Riana said ” This is a fantastic opportunity for me to be able to work with Tim and Vaughan and to be able to make their dreams come true. I am proud to be associated with such positive people and I will do my level best to ensure we make some of South Africa’s best wines as the potential is definitely here”