On Friday, a vertical tasting of Luddite Shiraz followed by lunch in the courtyard at the Old Biscuit Mill complex in Woodstock. The Luddites originally consisted of bands of English workers who broke weaving machines that threatened their craft in the early 19th century and Niels and Penny Verburg who make Luddite wine have adopted the ethos that “technology and mechanization will never be a substitute for passion”.
Maiden vintage of Luddite Shiraz was 2000 made from bought-in fruit while 2004 saw a portion of grapes from the Verburg’s own Bot River property included for the first time and Niels hopes that this year will see no reason for him to include anything from elsewhere in the final wine.
Tasting notes and scores for 2005 to 2009:
Spice, earth and a hint of savoury development on the nose. Dark fruit, bright acidity, relatively firm tannins. A noble rusticity about it.
Red and black fruit on the nose and palate. Rich and full with moderate acidity and a thick, smooth texture. Opulent.
Red fruit and some fynbos-like fragrance. Good concentration, fresh acidity and fine tannins. Well balanced and age-worthy.
Ultra-ripe dark fruit and prominent oak on the nose. Prunes and raisins on the palate. Rich and full and somewhat lacking in freshness.
Very primary. Red and black fruit plus an attractive herbal note. A good line of acidity and fine tannins. Extremely promising.
Later, a suckling pig from the Verburg’s own free-roaming collective cooked in the outdoor wood-fired oven by some of the team from Luke Dale-Roberts’s The Test Kitchen. “There’s nothing better than eating something that’s had a happy life and been fed properly,” says Niels. Wine and grub made all the better because it’s brought to you by people who aren’t simply paying lip-service to a particular philosophy.