About Le Vin de Francois
At the end of 2005, Francois Naudé, then the winemaker & cellarmaster at L'Avenir Wine Estate took the bold step by announcing his so-called "retirement" from the great passion in his life namely — making wines!
It only lasted until the middle of 2006 when he started consulting for a handful of winemakers from five or six highly reputable properties and the "seed was sown".
By the end of that year his popularity as a consultant had increased and more producers requested his services for the upcoming 2007 harvest. That was when his and his family's dream was born — "To produce the ultimate South African wine of a specific vintage; a 'creme de la creme' that would have all the properties of something great – unique, exclusive and a touch of magic"!
In that first year, a dozen superb wines were made by the various winemakers. The grape vines were grown on a variety of soils, with different slopes, altitudes and micro climates. All actions were done in close collaboration with Francois - from vineyard practices to grape selection for harvest, through fermentation and right through the entire maturation cycle in small oak barrels.
At the end of maturation, samples were drawn from the best barrels of each wine in the various cellars. These samples were then taken to Francois' laboratory, where a series of rigorous tastings and blendings were performed, to determine which wines would be used as the components for the final blend.
Each component, in whatever percentage, had to play its part in producing a classic wine that had power, complexity and elegance to epitomise the "ultimate Pinotage" as judged by Francois himself.
The individual barrels (anything from one to three per producer) were then all transported to a central cellar, where the final blend was made, fine-tuned and prepared for bottling. Only the best quality bottles and corks were used to ensure long maturation ability for this unique and small production of wine.
Seven different wines from five different producers were eventually used in the maiden vintage of "Le Vin de Francois 2007."
The 2008 wine required 10 different components from 8 different producers "to reach the complexity and balance that I required for this wine!"
Today, all the wines still originate from properties where Francois is either consulting or with whom he has long standing relationships. The strict selection of the"best barrels" from the various producers continues, and the meticulous blending and tasting ensures that Le Vin de François still remains the ultimate "magic wine"!
About Francois Naudé
FRANCOIS NAUDÉ SNR qualified and then practiced as a pharmacist for 18 years in his home town of Pretoria, before making the break to Stellenbosch and turning a passionate hobby into an extremely successful career. He first tried his hand at wine making in 1991 and joined L'Avenir Estate in 1992.
This past chairman of Les Chevaliers du Tastevin de Pretoria (one of the first Wine Guilds in South Africa) and self-taught winemaker has used his unerring instinct and skills as a pharmacist to take on the best winemakers in the world and has proved himself their equal.
He has earned many awards and collected an enthusiastic following at home and abroad, where he has excelled in competitions such as the Chardonnay du Monde and the International Wine and Spirit Competition in London, from which he has brought home the Perold Trophy (for the best Pinotage in the world) three times.
With him at the helm, L’Avenir Pinotage also became a winner in the ABSA Top 10 Competition for a record 7 times.
Since his retirement he has become an honorary member (Keeper of the Key) of the prestigious Cape Winemakers Guild , an honorary member of The Pinotage Association and is chairing the Stellenbosch Wine Circle (the second oldest Wine Guild in South Africa) since 2008
Listen to the full story as told by the man himself here: http://www.classicfm.co.za/podcasts/classic-wine/2015/august/14-august/le-vin-de-francois-boosts-cape-winemakers-guild-protege-programme/view