Andre Simon, a French Wine Merchant in Britain who died in 1970, was a prolific writer on wine and food and a founder of The International Wine and Food Society, was often asked what is his favourite wine. “The wine in my glass,” was the reply. I am often asked that question too, but there are horses for courses and different times call for different wines. Sometimes a wine sneaks up on you and almost bowls you over. For me, it was the Jikken Bareru Elgin Riesling 2017. Leon Coetzee and his wife Margaux are the people behind The Fledge & Co.
I am a huge Riesling fan, indeed Jancis Robinson, the acclaimed British Wine Writer, refers to Riesling as ‘the greatest white wine grape.’ I presume with apologies to Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Leon sources the grapes for this wine from Elgin, from a small vineyard grown on decomposed Table Mountain Sandstone over white clay. Elgin, of course, has a cool climate in a valley which is affected by the not too distant cold Atlantic Ocean. The grapes are brought to the cellar on Boplaas Farm in Calitzdorp where Margaux assists her father in winemaking on their family farm and where she and Leon make The Fledge & Co wines. Here they are destemmed and crushed and allowed a time of skin contact. After this it was fermented cold using a Champagne yeast. Once the fermentation was over, the wine was prepared for immediate bottling. The gold is a pale straw, the aromas are notes of terpene, a benign presence, and bright fruit. The flavours are full, the palate dry and citrus filled. I just love the full soft acidity the Jikken Bareru Elgin Riesling 2017 has from entry to aftertaste, so typical of the German Rieslings. The aftertaste goes on forever. And this makes it a truly sublime food wine. It can tackle the gentle Curries of the Cape, gently flavoured Oriental dishes. It is also a wine which goes well with cheese at the end of a meal, most choose red, but a fine wine like this is a great complement to a board of fine cheese.
Recently at a morning’s tasting at Farro, a restaurant in Illovo in Johannesburg’s Northern Suburbs, I attended a tasting of The Fledge & Co wines. Cleverly blind tasted in flights of three, one Fledge wine and two similar wines. For me in each case, the Fledge Wines shone. Two red blends, one from 2012 and one from 2015 were served with a similar wine from the Douro Valley in Portugal.
A 2016 Pinot Noir, delicate and all berries and berries. There were also two interesting wines called O Velapi? [from where do you come]. A bright fruited Chardonnay from Elgin and a real Old School Claret style Cabernet Sauvignon.
During this time, Farro served us some delicious little nibbles which were so tasty, it made me want to go back for a meal there.
Leon and Margaux celebrate 10 years of winemaking this year. They have made their mark on the wine industry and we should be supporting them.
If you are looking for world class wines with a story you can buy them from The Fledge – CLICK HERE
If you are in Johannesburg wanting to buy the wines, Debi van Flymen CWM of The Grape Slave is your person – CLICK HERE