La Brune new releases

By , 29 September 2022

Nico Grobler, who had a successful stint at Eikendal in Stellenbosch, has long entertained the idea of focusing on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir – he’s done regular harvests in Burgundy and counts Bruno Lorenzon of Domaine Lorenzon in Mercurey as a close friend.

Convinced that Elgin was the area that comes closest to Burgundy in terms of growing conditions, the first vintage of Pinot Noir under own label La Brune from here was in 2011 and in 2013, he and wife Christelle persuaded a farmer on the Viljoenshoop Rd to plant a small high density, multi-clone vineyard for them. Last year, they acquired the 16ha property in its entirety and will be planting Chardonnay next year (there are also apples which help pay the bills). Tasting notes and ratings for the current releases as follows:

The Valley Chardonnay 2021
Price: R160
Grapes sourced from various Elgin vineyards. Matured for eight months in older 500-litre barrels. Citrus, green apple and a little stuck-match reduction on the nose while the palate is lean and tightly wound with bright acidity and a super-dry finish.

CE’s rating: 91/100.

The Valley Pinot Noir 2021
Price: R175
Incorporating five different clones, grapes again sourced from across Elgin. 20% whole-bunch fermentation before maturation lasting nine months in predominantly older barrels of various sizes. Red currant, cherry, musk and potpourri on the nose before a palate thats medium bodied with snappy acidity and fine tannins. Good fruit clarity and a winning lack of artifice.

CE’s rating: 91/100.

La Brune Chardonnay 2021
Price: R420

Grapes from Lothian. Matured for 12 months, 80% in 228-litre barrels and 20% in 500-litre barrels, 25% new. Citrus, green apple, some leesy complexity and an attractive hint of oak on the nose while the palate has a dense core of fruit and plenty of drive. Excellent weight and texture for a wine with an alcohol of just 12.5%. Layers of flavour, the finish long and pithy.

CE’s rating: 95/100.

La Brune Pinot Noir 2021
Price: R480

Grapes from own plantings, made from three clones – 50% 115, 40% 113 and 10% 777. 50% whole-bunch fermentation before 12 months maturation in 228-litre barrels, 40% new. A subtle note of musk before red and black cherry, olive, earth, a hint of vanilla and spice on the nose while the palate has good fruit density matched by pleasantly tart acidity and powdery tannins, the finish long and dry. Alcohol is 12.5% and this wine comes across as quite understated but shows pleasing intricacy, even so.

CE’s rating: 93/100.

Check out our South African wine ratings database.


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