LE ROUX & FOURIE VIGNERONS
Saturday 2 June 2018
My last visit of the 2018 Wacky Wine Weekend was at boutique wine producer Le Roux & Fourie, located on the R60 West of Robertson. The wine shop made for an ideal final tasting en route to the N1 via Worcester and away from the wine drinking crowds. You will not find the winery listed in the 2018 Platter’s Guide but the website describes how 4 original vines were discovered at Buitenstekloof Farm that was established at the foot of the Langeberg Mountains in around 1823.
The winery was started by the Le Roux brothers in 2003 in honour of their French Huguenot ancestors and grandfathers Le Roux and Fourie, hence the name. I would have liked to have visited the farm as it boasts the first straw bale cellar in South Africa and the tallest of its type in the Southern hemisphere, standing at up to 9 metres tall. The straw construction, with stucco plaster made with 50% limestone, is environmentally friendly and has ideal thermal properties for keeping the cellar cool in summer.
Sauvignon Blanc, Pinotage, Shiraz and Carignan are organically grown on the limestone soils. The wines are made using minimum intervention, each bottle being individually numbered. As if to emphasize the rare limestone terroir, the approach to the farm shop that sold the wines was across a railway lime and a past a sign for Cape Lime. Gerda was my tasting host.
I began with Sauvignons Blanc from 2 vintages. Both were a pale straw colour with the younger, 2014 vintage palest. It showed warm tropical fruit salad and guava aromas with simple complexity and length. The older, 2013 wine was more herbaceous in character with notes of green citrus, grapefruit, bell pepper and gooseberry. The Sauvignon Blanc had a brighter acidity and more length than the younger wine.
I then tasted the Chardonnay, the only wine in the entry Buitenstekloof Range. Baked apple and vanilla aromas gave hint of malo-lactic fermentation and oak maturation as did the clean to creamy texture and medium weight mouthfeel. I liked the pale to medium salmon pink coloured Rosé, made from Grenache and Pinotage, which balanced strawberry with white pepper spiciness on the nose. Made in dry style, the acidity was high for a clean and refreshing wine.
I preferred the red to the white wines and the Rosé. They showed a greater intensity on the nose and complexity on the palate. The Pinotage show warm but not over-ripe plum, cherry and mulberry aromas on the nose. The fruit flavours held up to balanced dry tannins on the palate for a moderate light style wine with average length.
The Carignan was my favourite wine of the tasting. Rarely made as a single cultivar wine, the Southern France cultivar is generally low yielding. It is an uncommon variety (just 0.1% of South African vineyards by area) but increasingly being planted as a minor grape due to its drought resistant properties. The wine had a delicious nose of sweet red fruits of raspberry, redcurrant and blueberry. It was dry on the palate with a savoury character with tight tannins and high acidity giving grip and length. It would make an ideal food wine.
The final wine of my tasting – indeed of all at 2018 Wacky Wine – was a Shiraz led blend called Limestone Q that contained Mourvèdre, Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon. I rated it the same as for the Pinotage, below the Carignan, for its mixed red and dark fruit aromas with underlying spice. The texture was smooth and with the older, 2010 vintage showing by the rounded and silky tannins.
It was soon time to head to Cape Town to make the journey home in the daylight remaining. Le Roux & Fourie offered genuine wines without fuss in an unassuming farm stall shop in an unpretentious way. It makes for an ideal start or end point for Wacky Wines and well worth a visit.
Wines tasted (bought *):
2013 Sauvignon Blanc – R100
2014 Sauvignon Blanc – R114
2012 Chardonnay – R109
2014 Grenache Pinotage Rosé – R129
2014 Pinotage – R129
2012 Carignan – R189* FAVOURITE WINE
2010 Limestone Q Shiraz Blend – R100