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New Leeuwenkuil Wine range launched

The Swartland's Leeuwenkuil Family Vineyards has launched the Leeuwenkuil range of four fine wines onto the South African market following a successful launch in the US under the name Lion's Lair.
As one of the Swartland's leading grape growers, Leeuwenkuil has played an under-the-radar role in the so-called Swartland Revolution, supplying grapes to most of its revolutionaries. Led by Eben Sadie and later joined by other notable winemakers, such as Chris and Andrea Mullineux, Adi Badenhorst, Marc Kent, and others, most of them set up shop in the shadows of the Paardeberg and Kasteelberg, near the towns of Riebeek-Kasteel and Riebeek West. The winemakers sourced their grapes from " ... low yielding, appropriate to locations, often bushvine, mainly dryland, largely unfashionable old vineyards with limited commercial viability to mainstream producers," as described by Michael Fridjhon, when opening the first Swartland Revolution Weekend in November 2010.

From these emerged top quality Chenin Blanc and Shiraz, and interesting Rhône-style blends, which have attracted the attention of international and national media. The four Leeuwenkuil wines are made with this vinously intrepid spirit in mind, and use the two Revolution flag bearers of Chenin Blanc and Shiraz, each as a single varietal wine and each as the major cultivar in a blend.

Leeuwenkuil, the historic farm in the Paardeberg area of the Swartland, has been chosen as the name for this exciting new range of wines because it symbolises the pioneering spirit of the Dreyer family, whose forefathers protected their cattle from the Cape Lion. Willie and Emma Dreyer and their five children live on the farm, in the immaculately restored manor house surrounded by the original werf.

The white Leeuwenkuil label has a gold logo that craftily blends a lion's head into a vine leaf. All the wines are bottled with screw cap closures.

The Leeuwenkuil wine range comprises:

Leeuwenkuil Chenin Blanc 2011

The wine is refined and racy. It is redolent of green apple, granadilla and guava. Good minerality leads to a fresh finish. In the vineyards: 28-year-old goblets (type of ancient dryland vine training system) consistently produce these superior quality grapes. In the cellar: The grapes were picked at varying degrees of ripeness. The wine spent six months on the lees prior to bottling. Food pairing suggestions: Enjoy by the glass, or pair with light fare, such as fish, shellfish, white meats and salads. It's ready to drink right now. Approximate retail price is R40.
Alc 12.5 percent. TA 6.3g/l. pH 3.35.RS 1.5g/l.
Detailed fact sheet at

Leeuwenkuil Shiraz 2011

This lightly oaked wine is made in a lighter, fresher and fruit-forward style. The wine has opulent, bright fruit and has a beautifully elegant palate with round tannins, layered with clove spice, ripe cherries and violets. In the vineyards: The predominant soil-type found in these Shiraz vineyards has sandy-loam topsoil with well-structured subsoil formed on weathered rock. This soil has good water-holding capacity, providing the much-needed water during the hot summers in this dry-land vineyard. In the cellar: Fermented in stainless steel tanks on skins and aged on oak staves. Food pairing suggestions: Pair with feast-worthy foods such as roast duck, grilled meats or spicy tomato pasta. Drink now and over the next couple of years. Approximate retail price is R55.
Alc 13.5 percent. TA 6.0g/l. pH 3.48.RS 2.5g/l.
Detailed fact sheet at

Leeuwenkuil Family Reserve White 2011

This Chenin Blanc-dominated blend shows peach, citrus and melon aromas with delicate floral and vanilla notes. It shows length on the palate with a lingering, fruity aftertaste. The wine is a blend of 50 percent Chenin Blanc, 20 percent Roussanne, 16 percent Grenache Blanc, 10 percent Clairette Blanche and 4 percent Verdelho. The latter four varietals add complexity and depth to the blend. In the vineyards: With the oldest vine being planted in 1977 and the youngest in 2005, a wide variety of vineyards were used in making this blend. Generally the crop was reduced to one bunch per shoot to enhance flavour concentration. When picked, grape sugar levels varied between 23° and 25° Balling. Each varietal was picked at its required ripeness and fermented individually. Fermentation took place in a combination of stainless steel tanks and barrels. The oak assemblage ranged, in capacity and age, from new 500l to 4th-fill 225l barrels, and 5000l French-oak tronconic tanks. The barrelled wine was matured on its primary lees for five months, followed by blending and bottling. Food-pairing suggestions: This wine would be outstanding with anything with a spicy kick, or just as enjoyable on its own. The wine is drinking well now and will continue to do so for another four years. Approximate retail price is R55.
Alc 13.5 percent. TA 6.0g/l. pH 3.48. RS 2.5g/l.
Detailed fact sheet at

Leeuwenkuil Family Reserve Red 2011

This is a dark-centred wine with wild berries, liquorice and red fruit on the nose. Firm tannins are complemented by hints of black pepper and spice that lead to a lasting finish. The wine is a blend of 85 percent Shiraz, 6 percent Mourvèdre, 5 percent Grenache and 4 percent Cinsaut, all yielding less than six tons per hectare. In the vineyards: A combination of trellised vines and goblets, between the ages of five and 10 years, produced these high-quality grapes. The ancient goblet method of vine training involves no wires or other system of support and results in a goblet-shaped growth. The method is often found in warm, long-established (nutrient-depleted) vineyards of France, such as the southern parts of Burgundy, the Rhône Valley, Provence and Languedoc. The vines are grown on Leeuwenkuil's predominant soil type, which has sandy-loam topsoil and well-structured subsoil, formed on weathered rock. Being a low-rainfall area, supplementary irrigation is used. In the cellar: A combination of barrel matured and tank-made wines proved to be the winning recipe with this blend. The Shiraz was picked and fermented in two-ton batches, using only open-fermenters. Second fill and older 500l French oak barrels and 5000l tronconic tanks were used for maturation, while other components went through natural fermentation in stainless steel tanks. Food pairing suggestions: Enjoy with red meat such as pot-roasted venison, lamb or game. Also complements richly flavoured cheeses and spicy food. The wine should mature well for a further five years. Approximate retail price is R60.
Alc 14 percent. TA 5.4g/l. pH 3.59. RS 2.8g/l.
Detailed fact sheet at

Leeuwenkuil Family Vineyards has entered into a marketing joint venture with Vinimark The Wine Company. This will result in Leeuwenkuil wines being widely distributed nationally to liquor stores, supermarkets and restaurants. Vinimark will also oversee Leeuwenkuil's export drive.

Leeuwenkuil Family Vineyards is not yet open to the public for wine tasting.

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