Lourensford Estate in Somerset West has added to its impressive arsenal of fine wine with the introduction of the limited release Kleipot range.
Born from cellarmaster Hannes Nel’s passion to create wines capturing the true essence of the land Lourensford’s vines call home, the range has been produced using traditional terracotta amphorae and includes the Kleipot Petite Sirah, Rousanne, and Chardonnay.
We sat down with Hannes to chat about these exciting new releases:
What can you tell us about the limited edition Kleipot wines?
Our Kleipot range consists of three wines crafted using handmade 100% terracotta amphorae or clay pots. This ancient winemaking method dates back thousands of years.
The Petite Sirah is a natural wine made with minimal intervention, producing an authentic wine of purity and finesse.
The Roussanne is an elegant fruity, yet complex, wine with lots of depth and structure.
The Chardonnay expresses the heart and soul of grape and soil, resulting in a textured wine with roundness on the palate and a beautifully integrated minerality.
Why did you choose the amphora method rather than the use of oak barrels?
The shape of the amphora impacts the quality of the wine. Deposits of residual yeast, otherwise known as lees, are naturally and gently kept in motion due to the shape of the amphora, resulting in a bigger and more complex wine. I was amazed when I tasted the pureness of wines made in this way.
I challenged myself to make premium wines without using oak, to produce special wines that express the vastly different terroirs available at our magnificent cool climate wine estate. To this end, I selected our finest grapes within the Petite Sirah, Roussanne, and Chardonnay vineyards to craft limited quantities of wine made and aged with minimal intervention using amphorae.
What can you tell us about the amphorae and how you use them?
We have 400 litres and 800 litres handmade 100% terracotta clay amphorae crafted at Manetti Gusmano & Figli in the Chianti region of Italy.
With the Petite Sirah and Roussanne, whole bunches were gently packed in the amphorae to complete carbonic fermentation inside the whole berries. This technique produces fruitier wines with softening tannins than would be achieved using traditional methods of fermentation which involve more manual extraction of colour and flavour.
The Chardonnay grapes were pressed and the free-run juice added to the amphora together with a portion of whole berries where it fermented spontaneously – resulting in elegant, fruit-driven, and complex wines with ample depth and structure. An authentic wine of purity and finesse. Soft and elegant.
The wines were in their respective amphora for 11 months.
You have touched on the importance of terroir, can you elaborate?
A vine is influenced by its specific site’s micro-climate, or terroir, where temperature, sunshine, wind, and rain forge its physical characteristics.
Our micro-climate is 3-5 degrees cooler than the Stellenbosch wine growing region as we are only 8km from the ocean and benefit from the cooling sea breezes. The natural amphitheater created by the mountains surrounding the estate contributes to our cooler conditions and relatively higher rainfall than even our immediate neighbours.
However, the most important influence is the soil, where deep underground, the intricate roots of a vine seek vital nutrients to grow its grapes. The composition of the soil forms the soul of the grape, and Lourensford, nestled in one of the richest floral kingdoms of the world, is blessed with a treasure chest of different soil types.
Food pairing suggestions for the wines?
Petite Sirah: Middle Eastern cuisine like lamb koftas.
Roussanne: foie gras.
Chardonnay: fresh salmon.
Is the Kleipot range a once-off, or are you up for another challenge?
The aim is for annual releases of limited quantities of these three cultivars. I am excited by the challenge because this ancient winemaking method enables you to produce wines which display honest fruit purity and express the perfectly balanced natural soils. Wines that capture the true soul of the terroir.
To purchase the Kleipot Petit Sirah 2018 R550, Rousanne 2019 R460, and Chardonnay 2018 R460 visit Lourensford.co.za or the Tasting Room, open Monday to Sunday from 9 am – 5 pm.