Luddite Shiraz 2021


Notes from the cellar:
Finally, a year of good rains preceding harvest. This resulted in better crops and a little more vigour in our vineyards. As a result of these weather conditions, the grapes were riper at a lower sugar level even though they were picked a week later than 2020. We picked the two blocks a week apart and both batches were fermented separately in stainless steel tanks and a small portion was fermented in open fermenters. We fermented slightly cooler to retain more fruit expression and give more time on the skins to build up structure. We pressed and allowed the wine to finish malolactic conversion in tak before racking to barrel. After 2 years in barrel, we made up the final blend using a small amount of Mourvédre and Cabernet Sauvignon from our own vineyards to fill out the mid-palate. 100% French Oak of which 15% was new.

Slightly brighter in colour than previous years. It’s an elegant, vibrant and poised vintage says Niels.

“Red and wild berry flavours with touch of blue floral notes. Pencil shavings and spice is rounded with full yet friendly tannin grip and a clean almost saline finish. It’s a brighter and fresher vintage.” Says Corlien

ANALYSIS: ALC 13.62% | TA 6.0 g/l | RS 2.1 g/l | pH 3.46

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Niels and Penny met at a friend’s 21st birthday party in 1985, where they discovered that they were both going to be attending Elsenburg Agricultural College in the new year. They became close friends at college, and romance blossomed late one night cramming for exams. He passed, she failed, but they’re still together. On finishing their studies, a desire to make wine but with no access to vineyards (these were the dark days in South Africa), Penny and Niels left the country in 1989.

1995 saw the Verburg family return to South Africa from Europe. Niels had worked as a flying winemaker in France, Chili, New Zealand and Australia, and even managed to make wine in Greece. A longing to work on a small farm led them to Bot River. After 8 vintages at Beaumont, they moved up the hill to a 16 hectare patch of land.

More than thirty years later, with three kids and six dogs, the Verburgs are happy on their hill, and Luddite wines has evolved into an established and respected brand.

Some people describe Luddite Shiraz as Niels Verburg contained in a glass; Niels is six foot four and his smile is the embodiment of a warm embrace.

As a young winemaker traveling the world, Niels confirmed his love for Shiraz when working a harvest in Australia, but it was a winery in Chile that inspired his wine-making method. “It was as if I’d gone back 20 years; it was ramshackle and chaotic, but they had great fruit and passion and I’d never seen that quality of wine”, he explains.

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