– LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!
Leopard’s Leap gave their whole tasting area, restaurant and wine experience a revamp earlier this year and it is looking superb!
Absolutely love the “whisk” lamp shades in the dining area. Also the individual cooking stations set up in the kitchen for their delicious cooking classes. Even on the rainy day we visited, the high ceilings and structure made the whole place light and inviting. We are definitely coming back for the buffet lunch, some chocolate brownies, to check out the newly opened store and to enjoy some wine on the lawn, now that summer has finally arrived!
We just tasted wine on this particular visit, and our TRH was great! He knew all the answers to all my questions (which can sometimes be silly!) and was super friendly and efficient. We sat up at the bar counter enjoying their really good and exceptionally well priced wines and landed up leaving with a few bottles… as you do!
Leopard’s Leap itself actually doesn’t grow any of its own grapes, so the ones you see on the drive in are either for decoration or belong to someone else. Their spot in Franschhoek houses the restaurant, wine tasting and shop. They buy in all their grapes, which actually allows them to pick and choose the very best available of each varietal. Most of their grapes are sourced from Botrivier, Swartland and Robertson to name a few.
The wines in the Classic Range are all great quality with nothing over R45. Perfect to take to your next dinner. We tasted the SAUVIGNON BLANC, which was lovely and easy drinking, hardly any acidic aftertaste. The CHENIN BLANC, smells like “peaches and cream” and is loaded with smooth peach and apricot flavours, we took home two bottles of this one. The CABERNET SAUVIGNON MERLOT is also another standard, easy drinking, well blended wine.
There was only one Family Collection available for tasting, the SHIRAZ MOURVEDRE VIOGNIER, which is actually made by Hein Koegelenberg himself. Hein is currently the CEO of La Motte & Leopard’s Leap (and director of Meridian Wine Distributors) and is largely responsible for their great successes over the past few years. They also recently, together with a Chinese entity, bought the Val de Vie vineyards. While Hein started his career at Spier Wine Farm, he moved onto to one of our other favourite wine cellars Windmeul Kelder where he moved through the ranks to CEO there, before moving to La Motte. He is well known and respected in the wine industry and doing great things for South African wines. Check out his blog he keeps on the side – heinkoegelenberg.typepad.com .
Okay, so back to the wine. It has really rich berries and spice on the nose and is quite spicy on the palate, with a beautifully smooth finish. Apparently they burn the insides of the barrels in which this wine is stored which adds to those smokey flavours. Interesting! Fantastic wine!
You’ll see there is also an “RK” logo on this and some of the other wines which shows it is part of the family – R being Hein’s wife’s maiden name Rupert and K for Koegelenberg.
We actually started the tasting with some bubbles – because if bubbles are available for tasting, then they are always first on the list! Their CULINARIA BRUT METHODÉ CAP CLASSIQUE is delicious, gentle citrus with a little caramel and a lovely balance.
The Culinaria Collection is the more sophisticated, heavier collection, with really smart labels and mostly blended wines.
A few Culinaria notes below…
2012 CULINARIA CHENIN BLANC GRENACHE BLANC – 6 months in French oak smooths this wine out beautifully, full of fruit, but slightly drier on the palate. Great with smoked foods.
2012 PINOT NOIR CHARDONNAY – Not a combination I have heard of before. The wine has a beautiful golden pink hue from spending just 10hrs on the Pinot Noir skins. It is quite a sweet wine with berry flavours coming from the 60% Pinot Noir, it is almost a little tart too. Perfect with pork or even dessert.
2010 CULINARIA GRAND VIN – A very good Bordeaux blend, slightly more harsh and metallic than fruity. Definite coffee beans and nutmeg.
2010 CULINARIA SHIRAZ GRENACHE – Excellent, great spice flavours and berries smoothed out by the Grenache. Quite heavy but still versatile when pairing with anything from meat to pasta. We took a bottle of this home.
2013 CULINARIA MUSCAT DE FRONTIGNAN – Hands down the best dessert wine we have tasted! The nose is full of rose flavoured Turkish delights and blossoms. It is deliciously sweet and yet still light, not nearly as syrupy or heavy as other dessert wines. It actually only has 84g sugar vs some others that have up to 200g. Delicious! We took a bottle of this home too!
Did you know that here in South Africa we have Noble Late Harvest which is usually your dessert wines. The name comes from the Noble rot (Botrytis fungus) which attaches to the grapes and drains them of their water leaving the sugary goodness behind. Late Harvest obviously the fact that the grapes are harvested much later than other wines. Places like Canada and Germany have Ice Wine dessert wines which also sees the grapes being drained of their water, but this is as a result of the grapes freezing in their sometimes below zero temperatures. Random fact for the day!
Next time you go wine tasting, check out Leopard’s Leap… or look out for their bottles in the stores! We will definitely be back, they are a new favourite of ours!
LEOPARD’S LEAP FAMILY VINEYARDS
R45 Franschhoek Valley, Frasnchhoek
Latitude 33° 52’58.8″ Longitude 19°04’50″
Tel: +27 21 876 8002
Closed on Christian public holidays