Sumaridge Harvest Underway!


Pinot Noir
Exciting news from Sumaridge Estate as not only is the 2019 harvest underway but they are also taking advantage of the latest winemaking techniques using gravity (rather than mechanical pumps) in the fermentation of their famous Pinot Noir.  Using gravity rather than force means the extraction of colour, tannin and flavour is a more natural, gentle process resulting a more delicate, nuanced wine.
The Chardonnay has just been handpicked from the best blocks of the vineyard; selected again in the cellar, destemmed and gently crushed. Simon tastes their juice less than three hours after the grapes were picked!
To celebrate the start of the harvest – described by Sumaridge winemaker Walter Pretorius as an exciting year for both the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay – and as it is the 2019 vintage we are offering a 19% discount across the two wines.

Click the links below to claim this offer!

Sumaridge Estate Pinot Noir  – Now just £92 per case of 6

A stunning improvement on a classic Pinot Noir with exciting darker fruit notes. It combines rich flavours of black cherry with smoky spice and savouriness to deliver a luxurious wine with a silky finish.

Sumaridge Estate Chardonnay – Now just £92 per case of 6

An exquisite Chardonnay bursting with the freshness of lime, quince and citrus blossom. It has tones of minerality beautifully balanced with a richly textured mouthfeel.

Welbedacht Wine Estate – A Harvest Story


Before we look at the present harvest that is on our doorstep it is important that we look at the previous harvest and what that left us with – we all know that a vine is very susceptible to its experiences in the previous years.

The drought, which is now in its third year, has played havoc with the reserves in our precious vines, as they have not had the following important contributing factors such as good early rain and cold in May/June to let them build up their reserves during an ideal long winter resting period.

The 2018 harvest was the earliest that we have ever started harvesting, being the second week of January 2018, and also finishing before the end of February.  This was when we then realised that it would be a long period of drought for the poor vineyards before they finally got to rest.

When the winter came it was much better than 2017 but still a mixed bag that represented itself. June was a good on par rain month but then July was one of the driest the Western Cape has ever seen. The good part was that there were no real heat spikes that could have allowed for early budding, the proverbial green flags and the end of the shoots, and then August was quite normal. We did not receive enough rain to fill up our dams, only the third time that this has happened to us and these three times have been for the last three years only. In total we received about 65% of our long-term average of rain. Since 1930 our farm has been a rain measuring station for the South African Department of Meteorology and therefore we have got all these stats for 87 years.

During the winter we could embark on an earlier pruning programme due to the vines shutting down earlier than the previous year and we also pruned most of our vines with an Italian procedure where we do not clean out the vines too much so as to not hurt the vine and allow for additional natural shoot growth.

The early spring saw a very good bud break and then we had a very indifferent October wherein there were 10 days of excessive heat, which hurt all the vine nurseries around us, as the young grafted vines did not yet have the root structure to handle the heat and thus shrivelled up.  Our vines started budding profusely and then later some real cold weather stopped this action and has led to some blocks of vines to be a little uneven in growth and colouring.

It has been a very healthy winter in Groenberg, meaning there have not been too many diseases in the vines, which is different to some other areas that have been hit very hard with downy and powdery mildew, so our fruit is looking very healthy which is good sign for making great wines. Some of our blocks are still recovering from the harsh summer and winters that they encountered, although we for the previous 3 years pruned very conservatively to save the vines from stressing too much.

Our Merlot blocks were looking very promising to deliver a good healthy big crop but the devastating high winds experienced in November led to the vines having smaller that usual bunches with less berries per bunch than normal. Merlot is very susceptible to the effects of wind in the flowering period of the vine. We believe that this could be a blessing as it could lead to some more intense flavours and good colours.

Overall we are looking at about a 50% increase in production versus 2018 which is off our lowest production ever on our farm.

During the latter part of December as well as the first week of January we twice received 10 mm’s of rain and the night temperatures have been very moderate with many mornings having dew on the vines which allows for great translocation to take place in the vine, with the stomata of the leaves opening up in the mornings and closing down nicely in the evening to get good levels of positive and negative sap flow. This being generated between the leaves, the berries and the hair root system.

So overall we are looking forward to our 2019 harvest and some cultivars to look out for could be our bush vine blocks of Chenin Blanc, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon which are all looking very promising on the vine.

Our first cultivar harvested was the Sauvignon Blanc which we brought in on 23rd January 2019 and the fruit was of outstanding quality. 2019 is going to be a year where the gutfeel and knowledge of the various vineyards will determine when we harvest to ensure the best quality of the wines.

We all at Welbedacht are looking forward to the harvest as it is the culmination of a year of a lot of hard work and we will keep you updated as the harvest unfolds and as some special treats fall upon us as what happens every year.

 

Here are 2 photo’s of the difference between the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere borne out in family photo’s during the 2019 Harvest.  The first is Francois, 19 months old, savouring and tasting the 2019 Sauvignon Blanc ready for pressing – serious work in warm conditions.  The second is nephews from St Albans skiing in the snow in France with their Dad and Mom, unaware of the important business of harvesting but also enjoying themselves!

Schalk Burger Snr.

 

No. 6 on Top 10 Wines of 2018 List


Our South African winemakers really are on a roll!

Wine expert and The Buyer Magazine editor Geoffrey Dean put Schalk Burger & Sons No. 6 on his “top 10 wines tasted in 2018” list. Saying of the wine:

One of the most affable South Africa rugby players you will meet, Schalk Burger Sr named this outstanding Rhône-style blend after the shirt number invariably worn by his Springbok son Schalk. Six varietals, of course, go into this wine – Syrah (majority), Grenache, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Pinotage and Viognier.

You can read about his full top 10 here and purchase from our full range of Schalk’s fantastic wines here.

Sumaridge Estate Chardonnay – Officially World Class!


Chardonnay

We always knew our Sumaridge Chardonnay was world class and now The Buyer magazine’s roving contributing editor and world class chef, Roger Jones, has confirmed it!

Hemel en Aarde showcase their Chardonnay against some world class opposition. On a glorious South African summer’s day our intrepid traveller, Roger Jones provided a stellar line up of New World Chardonnay to pit against the region’s best Chardonnay.

South Africa’s Hemel en Aarde: the region has clearly come of age

The tasting was blind, in flights of five wines served in Riedel Chardonnay glasses, marked out of 20 and judged by 11 winemakers and nine international guests. There was little dispute in the scores with Hemel en Aarde clearly the winner on the day, the clean vibrant precision of these wines shining brightly. The purity and natural essence of these wines enthralled the judges.

This region has clearly come of age, producing superlative Chardonnay, 23 wines were tasted and here are the wines in order of score:

  1. Ataraxia, Hemel en Aarde Ridge 2015
  2. Sumaridge, Upper Hemel en Aarde Valley 2015
  3. Restless River, Upper Hemel en Aarde Valley 2016
  4. Stargazer, Tasmania 2016
  5. Newton Johnson Family Vineyards, Upper Hemel en Aarde Valley 2017…..

 

You can read the full article here and purchase this fantastic wine for just £18.95 per bottle here.

Château Pédesclaux Harvest Begins!


Bledsoe Family Winery – FALL RELEASE REMINDER


Due to an overwhelming response to our Fall Release, the 2016 Stolen Horse Syrah has sold out and we have limited quantities of the 2017 Elizabeth Chardonnay and 2016 Flying B Cabernet remaining.

To purchase the new releases email us, or call the winery at (509) 525-3334.

We hope to see you at our downtown tasting room this fall as we celebrate harvest in the Walla Walla Valley. Cheers!

Fall Release Event Save-the-Date
Join us for a celebration of our fall releases as well as a
barrel sample of the 2017 Lefore Syrah releasing next year.

November 3rd, 2-5 pm
229 E Main Street, Walla Walla

WINEMAKING NOTES
by Winemaker & GM, Josh McDaniels

“It is truly my pleasure to craft these new wines as a pure expression of the Walla Walla Valley and as representations of the incredible and fun stories from the Bledsoe family.” 

2017 Elizabeth ChardonnayDrew’s Grandmother, Elizabeth, lived on the Flying B cattle ranch yet always displayed and demanded elegance and class. The Elizabeth Chardonnay grapes were intentionally picked early in the growing season, the resulting wine opens with bosc pear, tropical fruit and cool wet rocks – almost as if you can smell the concrete “tulips” that the wine was partially aged in.Read More>>

2016 Flying B Cabernet Sauvignon – Paying homage to Drew’s Grandfather’s cattle ranch in Ellensburg, Washington, the 2016 Flying B is only the second release but a huge step up. Immediately seductive aromatically with red raspberry, blueberry, cedar, menthol and tobacco. The addition of Syrah to the mix has given this wine a complex and harmonious character that these blocks were missing.Read More>>

2016 Stolen Horse Syrah (SOLD OUT) – The story behind the wine represents a Bledsoe family tale of “no good deed goes unpunished” in the Gallatin Valley of Montana and is loaded with pretty red and blue fruit, with an intriguing type of minerality to it, a great amalgamation of the Loess vineyard planted in the deep wind-blown loess soils and our new estate vineyard, Lefore, planted in the ever-famous and plentiful cobblestones of the Walla Walla Valley. Our first red wine aged in concrete “tulips” this wine exhibits soft tannins, lively acidity, and a fantastic richness.Read More>>

 

Bledsoe Family Wines

Sporting Wine Club’s Newest Addition – Bodega Hiriart


Sporting Wine Club first got to know Pep and Kiko of the Bodega Hiriart through one of our members, Jo Earlam.  We were well aware of a gap in our Spanish portfolio, despite the excellent Rioja supplied by Sir Nick Faldo, and this is a great addition. We are delighted to feature such a beautiful wine with a strong rugby connection and a Hiriart inspired own label which expresses the growing love of rugby by the Spanish Nation. Thanks Jo for the intro and Salud to all at Sporting Wine Club. Please sample a case and we guarantee you a wonderful experience.

  • Tasting Notes

Made from 100% Tempranillo, this Crianza is soft and smooth with delicate, ripe tannins. Intense aromas of dark cherry and plum are mirrored on the pallet and supported by subtle vanilla notes from maturation in French oak.  Full bodied with good acidity and a long finish, this wine is great with food and ideal for everyday drinking.

  • Awards

The Hiriart Crianza has won the following prestigious medals:
Medaille d’Or 2016 – Concours Mondial Bruxelles
Berliner Gold 2017 – 21st Berlin wine trophy
Silver – 2017 Decanter World Wine Awards

  • The Winery

Bodega Hiriart is a new winery with history and experience, which combines traditional and new technology to ensure Quality, the objective of this family business!

The winery is built on top of the old, underground warehouse which dates back to 1750 when the ancestors of the family manually excavated the vaults which still remain. Today, tribute has been paid to the ancestors who were able to unite and convey the best of the wine culture of Castile and Bordeaux.

The relation between Alejandro and Hiriart started many years ago, when he was just a child. The friendship between the two families, Hiriart and Muñoz, meant Alejandro visited the winery several times during his childhood. During those visits, while his parents where sharing a glass of wine, he would wonder around the old winery and the aging room.  When he became a teenager, he got also more involved with the winery. He didn´t come to the winery just as a guest but as a worker, helping during the harvest campaign.

Nowadays he is concentrated in his university studies of medicine, something that he shares with his other passion, rugby.

  • The sporting connection

Alejandro Muñoz started playing in VRAC, the rugby team of his city, as a child and everyone saw him as a boy with a great future. He has always belonged to that privileged group of players who “play well and make others play better”. They were not wrong. He completed two seasons in Ireland to improve his sport, learn English and finish an interesting academic education. He has a breathtaking tranquility and when on the field shows no nerves.

He made his debut in September 2016 with the first division team setting up an excellent match against the other team of the city, and main rival, El Salvador.

He was seen by the Spanish 7´s national team and soon joined them. Since then he has been focused in the international 7´s competition and doing a great job in different locations like London, Moscow, Las Vegas and Vancouver.