To be a certified biodynamic wine producer is a long and arduous path to follow. Few in South African have done it, Elgin Ridge Wine Estate has. Owned by Brian and Marion Smith. In the cool [in terms of climate and fashion] and beautiful Elgin Valley. Breezes from the cool Atlantic ensure the right climate for Pinot Noir, ameliorating the summer heat and allowing for a long hang time to reach perfect ripeness. Brian and Marion, with their winemaker Kosie van der Merwe produce a small but exceeding fine range of wines.
Ever more popular in South Africa, Pinot Noir is a perfect reflection of the soils and climate in which it is grown and a fingerprint of each vintage. Being a certified Biodynamic and organic wine farm allows the winemaking team to produce excellent fruit which requires minimal intervention in the cellar. The only ingredient in this wine that is not from the vineyard, is the added 62 ppm total SO2 after natural malolactic fermentation.
I was keen to find out about the oak regime for the Elgin Ridge 282 Pinot Noir 2016, and Kosie gave me way more than I wanted, I found it fascinating. He made the wine from three different Pinot Noir clones. Here is what he said. “The 282 Elgin Ridge Pinot Noir 2016 comes from 4 vineyards, consisting of 3 clones. 777, 667 & 115. The three clones were vinified separately.
Hand harvested at 23º Balling. Destemmed and crushed to stainless steel tank. Left to cold soak until natural fermentation kicked off after 3 days. Light punch downs once a day until 2 º Balling. Pressed to barrel at completion of alcoholic fermentation. Natural malolactic fermentation was done in barrel and clones are aged separately in 2nd and 3rd fill barrels for 10 months until blended and bottled.
Hand harvested at 22.5º Balling. 20 % whole bunch in open fermenters, 80% destemmed. Carbonic maceration was done for 4 days. After the maceration vessels were opened up, whole bunches were destemmed by hand and light punch downs were done once a day until 2º Balling. Pressed to barrel at completion of alcoholic fermentation. Natural malolactic fermentation was done in barrel and clones are aged separately in 2nd and 3rd fill barrels for 10 months until blended and bottled.
Hand harvested at 22.8º Balling Grapes were destemmed and crushed to concrete egg fermenters, left to macerate for 3 days until natural alcoholic fermentation started. Light punch downs were done once a day until 2º Balling Pressed to barrel at completion of alcoholic fermentation. Natural malolactic fermentation was done in barrel and clones are aged separately in 2nd and 3rd fill barrels for 10 months until blended and bottled.
From a Burgundy shaped bottle. Closed with natural cork. The label is simple and elegant. In the glass, the wine is a translucent red cherry in colour which pales out towards the edges to garnet. The palate follows on from the aromas which are of red berries, ripe cherries ad roadside brambles. Delicious thread of fresh acidity from entry to the long tail, interwoven with cashmere clad tannins and floral undertow.
The Elgin Ridge 282 Pinot Noir 2016 benefits from being chilled for about 30 minutes before serving. One of the most classical dishes in which to use this wine, then drink with the final dish is Roberta Muir’s Coq au Vin. Click HERE for her recipe.
Roberta Muir has managed Sydney Seafood School, Australia’s largest recreational cooking school, since 1997. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Gastronomy from the University of Adelaide and is a qualified sherry educator and cheese judge. She is the author of the Sydney Seafood School Cookbook (Penguin/Lantern, 2012) and 500 Cheeses (Quintet, 2010) and co-author of A Lombardian Cookbook with chef Alessandro Pavoni (Penguin/Lantern, 2015), A Sardinian Cookbook with chef Giovanni Pilu (Penguin/Lantern, 2012) and Wild Weed Pie (Penguin/Lantern, 2006) with chef Janni Kyritsis. Her passion for food, wine and foreign cultures has led her on adventures in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, North America, Scandinavia and South East and Central Asia. In her spare time, she reviews restaurants, writes freelance food, wine and travel articles, is a keen cook and an enthusiastic diner. She lives in Sydney with her husband, photographer and fellow foodlover, Franz Scheurer. Do visit her website – https://www.food-wine-travel.com.
Read more about Elgin Ridge Wines – www.elginridge.com.