The Franschhoek Valley is located in the cape of South Africa. Franschhoek is a small wine region that is just east of the Stellenbosch wine region. Vineyards cover the mountainous slopes with Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chenin Blanc, Shiraz, Merlot, and Pinot Noir being the most popular varieties produced in the region.
The French Huegenots settled the area over 300 years ago, and brought their knowledge of viticulture to the Franschhoek region. After Protestantism was outlawed, Huguenots came to the Cape of Good Hope after fleeing France.
Thirty-seven wine growers collaborated in 1945 and formed the Franschhoek Co-Operative Cellar growing to 95 producers and peaking in 1984. Over the years, some vineyards have been replaced by citrus and fruit trees.
The warm climate is influenced by the sheltering affects of the coastal mountains, which help keep the vines cool and dormant during the cold winter. The vineyards that lie above the snow line can become frozen during the coldest months. Franschhoek enjoys heavy precipitation during the rainy season giving the region alluvial soil.
The Franschhoek Valley is a small wine industry known for estate and boutique wine farms. The growers are specialists and understand the particular needs of each wine.
Colmant Brut Chardonnay is made from 100 percent Chardonnay (Franschhoek and Robertson).
15% of the base wine has been barrel fermented.
Ageing: This wine spends a minimum of 45 months on the lees at a consistent temperature of 14C before degorgement.
Tasting: Delicate light gold color with a lime-green hue. The nose is fresh, lemony and floral with notes of green apple, followed by yeasty and biscuity aromas brought by the lengthy maturation on the lees. Very fine bead of bubbles with a persistent mousse. Opulent on the palate, this wine shows a harmonious balance between fresh zestiness, mineral complexity and a warm breadth of leesy creaminess. It promises to develop great texture over time.
Drinking tips: Ideal with pan fried scallops or line fish "au beurre blanc", it is also the oyster's best friend and will enhance the flavors of parmesan, asparagus, artichokes, parma ham,…
"The core of this wine, which subsequently spent 52 months on lees, comes from the 2015 vintage and shows the ageing potential for which Colmant bubblies are famous. Savoury, fresh and intense, with plenty of colour, added complexity from reserve material, notes of aniseed and citrus peel and a fine, refreshing finish. 2021-25"
- Tim Atkin (South Africa 2020 Report), 93 pts
There are many alternatives to Champagne, and South Africa is no exception with some fine “Method Cap Classique.” Jean-Philippe Colmant hired winemaker Nicolas Follet to create a small range of impressive sparkling wines; they eschew malolactic fermentation and practice extended lees aging.- NM" - eRobertParker.com (Issue #196, August 2011), 92 pts
A blanc de blanc with the heart of Chardonnay, the NV Brut Chardonnay has focused citrus tones on the nose with notes of yellow pear and green apple. The oak is subtle here, with a solid beam of acidity through the mid-palate. The wine is thoughtful and focused, and the finish leaves my mouth watering; there is serious acidity here, and they are doing it right. Colmant is the little guy doing some really great things— quietly focused wines, with serious aging potential. Keep this small producer on your radar. I expect nothing but great things in years to come from JP Colmant and his new winemaker, Paul Gerber, formerly of Le Lude. - Anthony Mueller"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #245, October 2019), 91+ pts
"Pale straw with a ï¬ne bead and scents of biscuit and lemon zest. The NV Brut is richly ï¬‚avorful and full, a complete wine with a long ï¬nish. Tasted blind, it can easily be mistaken for good quality Champagne. Spends 4 years on the lees; 15% of the base wine is fermented in barrel. Disgorged 9 months ago. A blend of Robertson and Franschhoek grapes from the Colmant vineyard."
- I-WineReview 92 pts
"Our favorite Colmant sparkler by far, this blanc de blancs would easily pass for good quality Champagne. It’s pale straw with a fine bead with biscuit and lemon aromas. Very flavorful and complex on a rich palate with a persistent finish, it’s 100% Chardonnay, 15% barrel fermented, and spends 4 years on the lees. RS 5 g/L"
- I-WineReview 92 pts
Blend: Colmant Brut Reserve NV is a blend of Pinot Noir 52%, Chardonnay 48% (Franschhoek, Robertson, Elgin, Somerset-West and Stellenbosch). 10% of the blend is made of reserve wine from the previous vintage and 12% of the base wine is barrel fermented.
Ageing: 28 months minimum on the lees at steady 13°C temperature.
Tasting: A subtle pale gold color with a very clean and elegant nose. The aroma has a gentle spicy toastiness with a lemon / yeasty perfume followed by more mature fruit. Plenty of freshness on the palate, with a good acidity which perfectly balances the yeasty depth, bready flavors and ample structure. Long smooth finish. Will develop nicely over the years.
Drinking tips: Divine as an aperitif and loyal as a party buddy, it also goes perfectly with oysters, sushis or any delicate seafood.
"The Brut Reserve (disgorged April 2018) was 10% fermented in French oak barrel and includes 20% reserve vintages. It spent 30 months on the lees. The well-defined, focused nose features bright citrus lemon and hints of baked bread. The palate is well balanced with a taut, crisp, citric entry. This is vivacious, very pretty and graced with lovely apricot hints on the finish. A superb MCC from Colmant. - Neal Martin"
- Vinous (August 28th 2018), 91 pts
"Fresh with leesy notes, a fine mousse and delicate palate of minerals and green citrus zest, this is a first class New World sparkler. It’s rich enough to enjoy on its own or with white meats. It’s a 50/50 blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay aged on the lees for 30 months and 25% reserve wines from earlier vintages."
-International Wine Review, 91 pts
"Disgorged February 2011, the Non-vintage Brut Reserve is a blend of 52% Pinot Noir and 48% Chardonnay based on the 2008 vintages blended with reserve wines from 2007 and 2006 (25% of the blend), aged for 30 months on the lees. It has a very fine pettillance in the glass. The nose is very well defined with crushed stone, oyster shell and the subtle perfume of fine lees coming through with aeration. The palate is very crisp and lively on the entry with vibrant acidity, a citrus thread from start to finish, and though it is not a powerful Cap Classique, it is wonderfully poised with great persistence on the fresh lime and Granny Smith-tinged finish.
There are many alternatives to Champagne, and South Africa is no exception with some fine “Method Cap Classique.” Jean-Philippe Colmant hired winemaker Nicolas Follet to create a small range of impressive sparkling wines; they eschew malolactic fermentation and practice extended lees aging."
- eRobertParker.com , 92 pts
It was day 6 in South Africa and we find ourselves outside of beautiful Cape Town, in the country near the Riebeek Kasteel area in Swartland. Let's talk a little about my accommodations before I tell you about this amazing bubbly. We arrive at the one and only hotel in Riebeek to find out that there were not enough rooms open for all.
We reached out to our contact at Riebeek cellars, who we will refer to as "Point Break" from now on. For those of you that have not seen the movie Point Break, this guy looked and sounded like a blonde Keanu Reeves with a Dutch accent. Anyway, Point Break tells me that they have secured a small bed and breakfast that we could use for the overflow. Sounded nice...so I opted for it.
Upon arrival, the home was beautiful on the outside with a catchy French name, "Shades of Provence". After Point Break fiddled with the skeleton key and lock for a good 35 minutes in the rain, we finally get to see the inside of our new home. The door opened straight into the kitchen where the first thing I noticed was the mouse sh*t all over the place. It was winter there and the mice were trying to stay warm, I'm sure. Little did they know this damn place had no heat.
Besides myself and my fiancee Sylvia, there were 3 other people and a total of four rooms. At this point I knew I better drag both our suitcases up those steps and get to the best room before everyone else. At stroke-causing speed, I skipped up the steps nearly knocking Point Break on his back and went through the rooms. I settled for a nice corner room with the least amount of dirt on the concrete floor and with only one or two spider webs on the wrought iron bed post.
For dinner that night, we returned to the hotel restaurant to join the rest of our group. The 5 of us forced to stay in the bed and breakfast were in a far worse mood than everyone around us. Arriving late, we sat at the end of the dinning table and hoarded as much wine as possible to try and drink ourselves to a point where we could sleep in that disgrace of a French country side home that Point Break secured for us.
That night, I slept with the lights on, all my clothes on, and on top of the sheets hoping to avoid spider bites. I awoke that morning to Sylvia standing over me holding what looked like a hot water knob off of the shower. "It wasn't even attached.", she said. Sylvia proceeds to take a "whore-bath" in the sink using her own packed sock as a wash cloth. It was the only thing she deemed clean. To top it off, in a brief moment of happiness she finds a hair dryer in a cabinet. She pulled it out in triumph only to realize that there was a used condom stuck to the side of it. Obviously, this is her last trip to South Africa.
La Motte Merlot is made from 100 percent Merlot.
La Motte Merlot offers a bouquet of red currants, cherries and spicy oakiness. It is an elegant, well-balanced and juicy wine with an underlying, refreshing quality.
Excellent with lamb, roasts or casseroles.
La Motte Sauvignon Blanc is made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc.
This wine was made from grapes originating from vineyards in several areas of the Cape Winelands — Franschhoek (25%), Stellenbosch (50%) and the Cape South Coast (25%).
Light straw in color with hint of green. Lots of fresh winter melon and gooseberry with distinctive lime aromas very typical to La Motte Sauvignon Blanc. Silky and soft on the pallet with a fruity green apple aftertaste. Lower acidity than the average year but well in balance with a lower residual sugar.
With its natural acidity and acute texture, the La Motte Sauvignon Blanc pairs beautifully with seafood, light pastas and spicy Chinese and Thai dishes. This white wine also goes extremely well with acute seasonings, and salty eats such as pre-dinner canapés. A natural partner to goat’s cheese. On its own, a refreshing aperitif white wine.
Tasting Note: This very aromatic Syrah has hints of black pepper, dark berries and herbs and a bloody, earthy character on the nose. The palate is full-bodied with velvety but structured tannins and a balanced natural acidity. The finish is fresh, long and supple. Best served at 16 to 18 °C, this wine will greatly benefit from decanting when drunk within the first 3 to 5 years after bottling.
Andrea Mullineux told me that their debut 2012 Mullineux Iron Syrah has been the hardest cru to fine-tune over the years. Indeed, it has been trialed since 2005 but never bottled...until now. "We have been working hard to perfect the acidity here and it's been important to get life into the soil, getting the vineyard healthy, so that it can be picked with good acidity. Because it is dry farmed, in a space of three days, it can god from 22 to 26 Brix – so picking decision is critical," she said. It has a subtle marine influence coming through on the nose with macerated black cherries, boysenberry jam and touches of iodine. The palate is medium-bodied with fine, quite grainy tannins, very nicely poised with touches of fig and marmalade towards the slightly saline finish. This is a strong debut to form the trio of Syrah single "terroir" offerings.
"The 2013 Iron Syrah has a roundness and softness on the nose that almost belies its complexity - red berry fruit, red peppercorns, rooibos and undergrowth scents that are very well defined. The palate is medium-bodied with ripe tannin, wonderfully savory and quite gamey, and beautifully balanced with impressive volume and sustain on the finish that you would have difficult distinguishing from a top Côte-Rôtie. This is an excellent Syrah, my only reservation being that there is a touch of heat on the finish. - Neal Martin"
- The Wine Advocate (erobertparker.com, November 2015), 93 pts
"Similar to the Schist Syrah in its weight and meatiness, the Iron Syrah offers a more elegant, immediate appeal. Dark red plum, smoked meat, and savory herbs are seamlessly integrated on a lush, juicy and firmly structured palate, finishing very very long."
- iwinereview.com (January 2016), 95 pts
Alain Jaume Domaine du Clos de Sixte Lirac is made from 50% Grenache, 35% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre
An intense red garnet color. On the nose, aromas of red and black ripe fruit (kirsch and wild blackberry). The mouth is full, with aromas of blackcurrant liqueur and spice. Tannins are both harmonious and elegant thanks to the fleshiness of the wine. Hints of licorice and vanilla on the finish, which gives the wine length and complexity.
Soil type LIRAC vineyard is facing Chateauneuf du Pape, opposite side of the Rhône river. As showed by the picture and following geologist George Truc, soils are almost similar in both side. They are marked by the violence wrought by the Rhone river. It consists of a layer of marine molasses of the Miocene period covered by alpine alluvium. The presence of a great number of rounded stones known as "galets" in the earth is evidence of the time when the Rhone, then a torrent, tore fragments of rock from the Alps and deposited them on the plain. LIRAC is one of the up-coming best area from the southern Rhône valley, as it delivers outstanding wines. Winemaking & ageing Traditional wine-making in stainless still vats. Hand sorted bunches, crushed and destemmed grapes. Fermentation temperature : 30°C. 18 days of vatting with pigeages.
"The Lirac from this estate is the 2017 Lirac Clos de Sixte. It's another deep purple-colored effort offering powerful notes of ripe black cherries, melted licorice, violets, and pepper. Full-bodied, forward, ripe, and flamboyantly styled, it's packed with fruit and texture. Drink it over the coming 4-6 years."
- Jeb Dunnuck (August16th 2019), 92 pts