Leading Franschhoek Methode Cap Classique (MCC) producer Le Lude Wine Estate has released the second vintage of their flagship Le Lude Vintage Cuvee 2013.

Earlier this year, judges at the Decanter Wine Awards awarded Le Lude’s maiden vintage, the 2012 Vintage Cuvée with 97 points – a platinum award, the highest accolade yet to be bestowed upon a South African MCC.

Just over 3 000 bottles were bottled in 2013 and degorged earlier this year, with maturation at an impressive 69 months.  “The long aging period has created a bubbly which has a slight nutty, brioche character, with subtle hints of bruised apple, grapefruit and lime leaves,” said winemaker Emma Bruwer. The soft mousse, and lingering acidity balance the linear and tight acidity that carries this fine example of MCC, which is made with 64% Chardonnay and 36% Pinot Noir grapes.

“We source parcels of the finest grapes from different terroir around the Western Cape, namely Robertson, Bonnievale and Franschhoek, this creates complexity in the final product.”

After being hand harvested in the cool, early morning, the grapes are packed into shallow picking crates and stored in the cold room to reduce core berry temperature before being whole bunch pressed. “The famous champagnes from France are made in the same way.”

What makes the Le Lude Vintage Cuvee different from its stablemates is that different quality fractions of grape juice are selected at pressing. “The Cuvée uses only high quality free run juice, Première Taille Deuxieme Taille.”

The juice is a cold fermented and a small percentage of the Chardonnay portion is fermented in third and fourth fill French oak barrels, while the large majority is fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks.

“The final blend is made up from various parcels that were kept separate throughout production. This allows for unique terroir characteristics to be expressed within the blend.” In a process which was pioneered in South Africa by Le Lude, the second fermentation which happens in the bottle takes place under crown cap to control the rate of gas exchange and ensure optimal ageing.

“We have high hopes that our Vintage Cuvee 2013 will follow in the footsteps of our exceptional 2012,” said Bruwer.

The wine retails at R1195 per bottle at cellar door and on their newly relaunched website: www.lelude.co.za