The Cape Winelands not only have become one of the best wine regions in the world. They also have developed an excellent reputation for sparkling wines, which are produced according to the traditional fermentation process used to create champagne.
Most wineries in South Africa today produce their own Methode Cap Classique (MCC) wine, the local equivalent for sparkling wines.
In addition, lately the region has seen a growing number of wineries exclusively producing the exquisite local bubbles. Indeed, wine tasting in the Cape Winelands is no longer complete if not adding at least one of the dedicated MCC wineries on your list.
Around a year ago sitting under the lovely pavilion at Rosenhof Country House in the Klein Karoo ready to start into the evening with a nice glass of bubbles, I discovered another wonderful gem in the growing Cape Winelands MCC game.
Le Lude Winery located in the Franschhoek Valley actually belongs to the family owning Rosenhof Country House.
It was clear, I had to explore Le Lude Winery located in the Franschhoek Valley and that’s exactly what I did just recently.
The history of Le Lude Winery
Le Lude Winery no doubt is one of the rising stars of sparkling wine producers in South Africa as last year it has received the highest points to date for a South African Méthode Cap Classique (MCC) at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA) in London.
That is even more impressive considering the winery was founded as recently as 2011. Their first bubbles were released in 2015, consisting of the Le Lude MCC Brut and Le Lude MCC Brut Rosé.
Today the winery offers a range of seven different MCCs: In addition to the Brut and Brut Rosé there are the Vintage Cuvees respectively from 2012 and 2013 as well as a Brut Agrafe, Rosé Agrafe and a Vintage Cuvee Agrafe from 2012.
Le Lude Winery is indeed the first winery in South Africa to use the Agrafe – Tirage Liège method. Adapting this method means the wine is fermented under cork instead of a crown cap. Many experts sustain the Agrafe method results in a more integrated aroma profile and texture as it has proven to show more developed, multi-layered characters. Thus the Agrafe label has become a certification of extraordinary quality.
Each of the Le Lude MCCs are produced with the traditional grape varieties used for sparkling (Champagne) wines: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier.
What to expect from a visit to Le Lude Winery
Le Lude Winery is located in the beautiful Franschhoek Valley next to the Franschhoek Monument and Museum just a few minutes away from the Franschhoek Main Road.
It actually makes for a nice walk from the village should you opt to leave your car behind. Alternatively, the winery is one of the Franschhoek Wine Train stops, again allowing you to have a proper tasting of their MCCs without having to worry about an assigned driver.
At the winery, visitors can chose from a range of different experiences including wine tasting, cellar tours, lunch in the on-site Orangerie Restaurant or an exquisite afternoon tea.
Starting off with an exquisite MCC tasting in the small tasting room, I opted for a tasting of three of the winery’s MCCs including the Brut, Brut Rosé and Cuvee.
I really liked the light, elegant taste of the Le Lude MCCs showing off a nice balance of acidity and natural sweetness, and ending in a beautiful dry finish.
In addition to the range of MCC tastings, there is a selection of canapés available to accompany your bubbles. These little bits are just so delectable, I can only recommend to opt for a canapé tasting.
Another option could be a MCC tasting followed by a visit to the Orangerie Restaurant which offers a French inspired cuisine.
Le Lude is also part of the growing number of wineries and hotels expanding their dining options with truly amazing afternoon tea experiences.
Once again served in the small tasting room, the setting of the Le Lude afternoon tea is revoking the classic setting of a true British afternoon tea both for the slightly historic feeling of the ambience as well as adhering to the classic traditional choice of sandwiches (salmon tout and cream cheese, egg mayonnaise and watercress as well as roast beef and horseradish).
The still slightly warm and fluffy buttermilk scones accompanied by crème Chantilly and strawberry preserve also were a classic whilst the sweet selection included salted caramel profiterole, a double chocolate Lamington, a fresh fruit tart and zesty lemonade madeleines.
Once you have finished your tasting, lunch or afternoon tea, make sure to stroll around the small rose garden or have a walk through the nearby vineyards enjoying the views into the valley.
I had a wonderful time at Le Lude Winery in Franschhoeak and really enjoyed the MCC and canapé tasting followed by a wonderful afternoon tea.
Le Lude Winery
Bowling Green Avenue (Lambrechts Rd)