Grande Provence launches first Amphora wine
Grande Provence has released its first Amphora Wine, an unusually aromatic and ultra-elegant Franschhoek Chenin Blanc fermented and matured in egg-shaped Tuscan clay amphorae capturing over 6 000 years of winemaking history.
Crafted in a natural idiom following the lead of the ancient Greeks and Romans, the Grande Provence Amphora 2015, embraces ‘technology’ developed thousands of years ago, using clay shaped out of the earth to cradle and nurture living liquids.
“The wine, made predominantly of Chenin Blanc with a touch of Muscat d’Alexandrie (6%) is a complete departure from what one expects from a white wine – balanced tannin, deeply coloured and unusually aromatic,” says Matthew van Heerden, newly appointed General Manager and Winemaker at Grande Provence. Van Heerden has just taken over the helm from Karl Lambour, the architect of the Amphora Wine.
The Chenin Blanc grapes come from a 34 year old vineyard, one of the oldest blocks in Franschhoek. Only the best yellow, sun exposed bunches were picked to maximise the health, flavour and aromatic expression of the wine. Pressed Viognier skins were added to enhance the texture. The grapes were left to ferment naturally on the skins and remained in the 400 litre clay amphorae for 7 months without any added sulphur. Wines crafted in this way require less sulphur for stability as the tannins from seeds and skins are a natural preservative, whilst the clay vessels allow the wine to ‘breathe’ during ageing. Prior to bottling, the wine was transferred to an old 500 litre oak barrel.
The result is an elegant and complex wine with well integrated layers of differential textures and citrus flavours.
“The wine is zingy, fresh and extremely aromatic. Upfront flavours of mandarin and citrus on the nose carry through beautifully onto the palate, complemented by hints of perfume from the Viognier skins,” says van Heerden, for whom working with amphorae opens a new chapter in his winemaking career.
The first Grande Provence clay amphorae were imported just before the 2015 harvest from Manetti Gusmano and Figli of Florence, proud Tuscan artisans who have mastered the ancient art of crafting these terracotta vessels over seven generations.
“When I taste this truly unique wine and follow its journey, it becomes apparent that with careful natural winemaking we can craft wines that are a pure expression of their site, with complex layers of texture and intense fruit aromas. The wine’s natural purity and precision simply astounds,” adds van Heerden.
The Grande Provence Amphora 2015 sells for R600 at the cellar door.
Located in Franschhoek, the heartland of South African wine country, Grande Provence Heritage Wine Estate embraces true South African wine heritage, excellent food and luxury accommodation. Part of The Huka Retreats, Grande Provence offers guests The Owner’s Cottage, La Provençale Villa in the Vineyard, The Restaurant, The Winery, The Jonkershuis, The Gallery, The Sculpture Garden and The Shop. For more information visit www.grandeprovence.co.za, Facebook.com or Twitter @grande_provence.
Issued by: GC Communications
Contact: Gudrun Clark
Tel: +27 +21-462 0520
On behalf of: Grande Provence Heritage Wine Estate
Contact: Suzanne van Dyk