Longridge Launches Wine From Legendary Vineyard

I got to attend the launch of Longridge Wines 2013 Clos du Ciel Single Vineyard Chardonnay……

 

The meticulousbio-dynamic revival of a single vineyard block planted almost thirty years ago high on the slopes of the Helderberg near Longridge Wine Estate has resulted in the introduction of the exciting new vintage of the 2013 Clos du Ciel Single Vineyard Chardonnay.

 

This single block was originally planted by wine legend John Platter and is rooted in decomposed granite, some of the oldest viticulture soil in the world.  Trying to emulate something as close as possible to Burgundy, the block was planted with nine different Chardonnay clones and extra tight spacing between the rows with about 5000 plants per hectare.  The “heavenly vineyard” flourished in the dry land farming conditions with the unique climate of cool Atlantic breezes off False Bay during the day and cool night air flowing down the mountain at night, which resulted in the even ripening of the berries and a good, natural acidity.

 

The fruit was hand-picked in February 2013 and whole bunch pressed before being left to settle naturally after which native yeast fermentation took place.  The wine is produced and bottled without the use of fining agents or filtering.  The resultant Chardonnay shows good minerality with a rich toasty character, ripe soft-skin citrus with notes of blossom honey and a lingering perfume finish.

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Initial reactions to the Clos du Ciel are promising with Chardonnay expert Christian Eedes calling it “dramatic” and predicting that the wine will quickly achieve “cult status”.  This follows the inclusion of the 2013 Longridge Chardonnay in Eedes’ 2014 Chardonnay Report and a host of accolades for the Longridge wine portfolio from local and international wine critics.

 

Since joining Longridge in 2011, vigneron Jasper Raats has been focused on making wines of distinction, while pushing the boundaries of convention.  Passionately committed to organic and bio-dynamic viticultural practises, Raats and his team continue to produce remarkable wines of purity and elegance, yet with an authentic South African interpretation.

 

Raats was inspired by the successful history of Chardonnay at Longridge and when the decision was made to produce terroir-driven, he started working exclusively with Helderberg grapes.  While exploring the options, he remembered Clos du Ciel and starting tracing its roots – via former winemaker Andre Morgenthal and eventually  to the current owner.  They entered into a long-term agreement and the Longridge team took over the management of the vineyard to restore it to its former glory.

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“It is an incredible vineyard with its narrow rows and high density plantings.  It is extremely labour intensive as conventional equipment can’t fit between the rows, so everything is done by hand.  I have always been fascinated by the intriguing wines that can be produced from a single vineyard and the Grande en Premiere Cru’s of Bourgogne have been especially inspirational.  In my opinion, it is not that difficult to make a good blended wine, butit is quite a challenge to create a great wine with complexity and balance from grapes from one parcel and one specific site.   I believe that it takes a special place such as Clos du Ciel rather than a winemaker’s skills to produce such a special wine and hope that this wine will prove me right,” explains Raats.

 

The 2013 Clos du Ciel will be available from the Longridge wine shop, The Wine Cellar and selected retails stores at approximately R500 per bottle.

 

For more information, visit www.longridge.co.za

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Author Info

Thuli

Thuli Gogela is a Food Technologist with 8 years of experience developing products in food manufacturing. She is dedicated to discovering wholesome traditional dishes and recipes with a distinctive taste from different parts of the African continent. Thuli is well known for her food blog, Mzansi Style Cuisine which was established in 2010. She saw a gap in the traditional food market that people were hungry for. From there, it didn’t take long to build her brand. In 2013, she started writing a recipe column for the Cape Times for and has collaborated with some of the biggest brands in South Africa namely, Knorr, Nedeburg Wines, First Choice and Spekko rice. Not only does Thuli feature traditional African dishes, she’s also open to developing recipes, food consultations and brand collaborations.

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