Situated in the Franschhoek wine region is the beautifully styled Le Lude. This fantastic wine estate is the first winery in South Africa to produce the artisanal Agrafe (Tirage Liège) bottle fermented sparkling wine. Agrafe refers to the method of fermenting wine under cork instead of under a crown cap. This method placed South Africa on the Cap Classique map. As a winery dedicated solely to the production of sparkling wines, Le Lude was on our list of must visits. Known not only for its delicious Méthode Cap Classique but also for its contemporary French charm; Le Lude exudes grace, elegance and romance.
There is so much to see and taste at Le Lude. Their facilities include accommodation, their tasting room and cellar viewing, the Orangerie Restaurant and the beautifully lush rose garden. Driving up to the parking area, you overlook the winery’s plentiful vineyards with the mountains painting the perfect backdrop. Once you reach the parking lot, to your right is the bountiful rose garden and dead ahead is the path to the tasting room. Walking into Le Lude’s tasting room is like walking into the lair of stylish French gentry. The setting of the tasting room is tasteful and contemporary but provides an atmosphere of mystique and enchantment.
We thought this estate was absolutely beautiful. The sheer volume of mirrors, the gentle and soft green panelling as well as the hints of leather creates an environment of pure decadence. Visitors are warmly welcomed to the tasteful and charmingly playful tasting room by friendly and helpful staff. Even when the tasting room was at its maximum capacity, we were never short of attention. Le Lude has 4 tasting options. The first option includes their Brut NV and their Brut Rosé NV. The second option includes their Brut NV, their Brut Rosé NV and the Le Mesnil Champagne. The third option includes the Brut NV, the Brut Rosé NV and a selection of canapes. The last option includes the Brut NV, Brut Rosé NV and the Le Mesnil Champagne as well as a selection of canapes.
We contemplated having the last option but remembered that we had had breakfast just an hour ago and that moderation is key if you plan to not swell up like a walrus. We started off with the Brut NV. Oooh, what a treat. Le Lude’s Brut NV was unlike any either of us have ever had. There was no bite to it. It was stunningly delicious. Normally, Cap Classiques have a tendency to leave you feeling like your jaws have been stuck together indefinitely. Definitely not this one! It was absolutely fantastic. So far so good is a gross understatement. Now we’ve admitted previously that neither of us are Rosé fans so there’s always a bit of hesitation when trying anything related to a rosé even if it is a sparkling rosé. But Le Lude’s Brut Rosé NV, wow! Absolutely gorgeous. Possibly even better than the Brut NV. So naturally, we were speechless. It wasn’t overly bubbly nor sweet. It had just the right colour and a lovely balance. A beautiful Brut Rosé. Our last tasting was the Le Mesnil Champagne. Apprehension was at an all time high here. You know that feeling when you have something spectacular and then have to go back to what you normally have because realistically speaking you can’t drink French Champagne all the time. Yeah that happened. But we tasted it regardless and ¡Oh, Dios mío!
It was out of this world. There’s really nothing more we can say. It was magnificent. The colour, the texture, its delicate nature; totally and utterly unreal! If you’ve never done a MCC tasting, we suggest you take a drive out to Le Lude and try one today! You have no idea what you’re missing out on. Once you try their sparkling wines, you’ll never go back to what you had before. Trust us. That’s what we’re dealing with right now. Le Lude exudes beauty, elegance, style and French charm. Its vistas are enough to draw you in, its rose garden is enough to enchant you and its sparkling wines are enough to make you stay. Make every day a reason to celebrate 😉
Le Lude Franschhoek: +27 21 100 3464 / http://lelude.co.za/