Kind to the earth, pleasure to the palate
Elgin Ridge 282 Pinot Noir 2016
Certified organic wines are thin on the ground in this country and those which go a step further – to be fully registered as biodynamic – are even more rare.
Having been involved (as a keen spectator) with an organic wine farm, seeing what has to be undertaken to reach this status, sitting through an international inspection by a tough team from Europe and South Africa as they toured vineyards and farm buildings, examining everything from implements to employees’ work apparel, then probing records and asking the most detailed questions, I greatly admire those who undertake the arduous and expensive process to get certified.
Brian and Marion Smith of Elgin Ridge state on their website that their vineyards have been free of chemical sprays for more than 10 years, while Maddox their gentle percheron ploughs between the vineyard rows to remove weeds and pest control is handled with enthusiasm by resident ducks. Currently on the website are photos of an appealing pair of lambs who, we are told, will soon join the rest of the little flock to help with cover crop management.
The 2016 vintage of their Elgin Ridge 282 pinot noir was recently released. Grapes were sourced from four vineyards between10 and 11 years old and were vinified separately. Natural malolactic fermentation took place in second- and third- fill oak for 10 months before blending and bottling took place.
This is a cultivar that benefits from organic viticulture partly because of its inherent earthiness. Elgin minerality complements, but these characteristics are balanced by the berry fruit on the nose, and a a juicy freshness. Tannins are integrated, and the whole offers medium-bodied well-balanced enjoyment, along with that purity that is usually discernible in organic wines.
Another plus is that fact organic wines contain little, if any, sulphur, a chemical which affects a number of winelovers – particularly senior consumers - adversely.
This pinot noir will make a fine companion to a variety of winter warmers,
including, of course any mushroom dish where the earthiness of both will complement nicely.
It sells for R250 from cellar door and some wine outlets.