Ever since he made his first bottle of Shiraz at Elsenburg, Niels Verburg dreamt of having his own wine farm and label.
In 1999, sixteen years after that first bottle of Shiraz, Niels established Luddite Wines, a small family-run wine farm situated on the slopes of the Houw Hoek Mountains, just outside Bot River. Assisted by his wife, Penny, who takes care of the vineyards, Niels focuses on his favourite varietal, Shiraz. The Shiraz is joined by a Luddite Chenin Blanc and a red and white blend under the new label, Saboteur. The red being Shiraz driven and the white being Chenin Blanc driven.
Niels is passionate about making wine, from the challenges of each harvest to making the perfect wine: "The fact that every year one gets thrown a different curve ball and each harvest brings new challenges to make that "perfect wine" is what drives and motivates me. I live for harvest time - it always amazes me that so many winemakers complain that they are too tired and too busy to enjoy harvest. If you are not enjoying harvest then you are in the wrong game".
He does, however, admit to having a few funny quirks, he never starts the harvest or bottles wine on a Monday. He also shaves his head at the beginning of the harvest as he doesn't have the time to think about combing his hair (he says it helps him to keep his cool when under pressure!).
Niels' personal top achievement thus far has been selling Shiraz to the Australians!
Small batch fermentation in open bins. Half of the ferment was crushed and destalked with hand punch-downs; the other half underwent whole bunch carbonic maceration in a sealed bin. After a short time in barrel, the two fermentation components were blended together and bottled.
Tasting Notes : Fresh, vibrant red tones
Nose: Freshly crushed strawberries, spice, cinnamon and red fruit
Palate: Zippy, fresh entry, dominated by red fruit and spice with a long refreshing finish
Juicy, fresh and delicious
Small bin fermentation with regular hand punch-downs. All components fermented separately and pressed into barrel where the wine spent 24 months before being blended and bottled.
Tasting Notes : Colour: Dark purple/garnet
Nose: Dark fruit, allspice, hint of liquorice and cloves
Palate: Rich dark entry, beautifully balanced mid-palate with red fruit and spice, with a long refreshing finish
Dark, juicy and refreshing
The various portions of this wine come from our own vineyards and were fermented in small open fermenters. Grapes were left on skins until spontaneous fermentation started and then given 3 hand punch-downs a day. Pressed and put to barrel straight after fermentation. The wine spent two years in barrel on fi ne lees and then the final blend was made up and bottled. Wine was aged in second fill French barrels.
The Shiraz portion is from our oldest vineyard, fermented in open bins with hand punchdowns.
Totally natural ferment. Pressed and allowed to finish malolactic fermentation
in barrel. The Cabernet portion is from our own vineyards; very small berry so gentle
punch-downs not to extract too much tannin. Pressed and sent to barrel. After malolactic
fermentation, both wines were racked and the blend made up and returned to barrel for
a further year’s maturation. Only second filled French oak barrels were used to allow the
fruit to come to the fore.
Crushed, destalked and fermented in small open fermenters. Punched down twice daily
during fermentation. Pressed and racked directly into barrel. Malolactic fermentation in
barrel and 2 years in 50% new French oak, with the balance in second and 3rd fill French
wood. We blended in 14% Cabernet Sauvignon to add structure, backbone and balance
to the juicy Shiraz fruit.
Selected from the best Shiraz barrels of the 2011 vintage. The Mourvedre was fermented in small batches and aged in new oak for a year. The 8% Mourvedre was then blended with the Shiraz and returned to second fill barrels for a further year to allow the blend to marry. Tasting Notes: Great fruit concentration dominated by dark plum and spice with the Mourvedre sending a perfumed violet undertone. Balanced wood and fruit tannins provide a silky finish.
The grapes were fermented in small batches with regular punch-downs by hand. Pressed and matured in new French oak. The blend was then made up and returned to barrel for a further year to allow both components to marry. Tasting Notes: Dark red fruit and spice with violets on the nose. The entry is juicy and decadent, balanced by good tannin, finishing dry and classical.
100% Shiraz Standard winemaking practices - blend of 50% French and 50% Hungarian oak. In barrel for 2 years. Tasting note: Exciting, sexy nose offering plummy fruit and spice. Vibrant dark berries backed by all spice and liquorice. Fine tannins balance the wine all the way to the finish. Drink now and for the next 15 years.
92% Shiraz, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon Standard winemaking practices were used and the wine was aged for 2 years in 100% French oak. Tasting note: Rich plummy fruit and spice aromatics. Sweet fruit on entry which leads to a warm, balanced mouth-feel and fine tannin finish. Drink now and for the next 20 years
Winemaking Notes: A barrel selection of Shiraz which was matured for 2 years in 100% French oak. 14% Cabernet Sauvignon was blended in to add structure and backbone. Tasting Notes: Dark fruit and spice dominate the nose. A rich entry of plums, dark cherries and cloves gives the palate good weight. The wine opens up to offer dark chocolate and liquorice, counterbalanced by good wooding and fine tannins.
90% Shiraz, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon A barrel selection Shiraz which spent 18 months in 100% French oak, of which 50% was new. This barrel selection was blended with 10% cabernet Sauvignon to give the wine more structure, backbone and age-ability. The name comes from my son misunderstanding the name WILD BOAR and for some reason calling them WILD HOARS. Tasting note: Rich vibrant colour, dark fruit and chocolate with typical Shiraz spiciness balancing the palate. Firm ripe tannins which form a backbone on which this wine is built.
Barrel selection of our own vineyards matured for 24 months in 100% French oak of which 50% was new. 20% Cabernet Sauvignon was added to improve the overall tannin structure of the wine. Tasting Notes Vibrant spices and dark plum on the nose, this leads through to the palate. These dark fruits and cinnamon and clove spices are backed by fine tannins certainly has structure to age gracefully. The name of the wine alludes to my son?s incapacity to listen in class; as a result he got ?Two for listening? out of five in his report card.
Made using normal winemaking practises but with cooler fermentation temperatures to retain as much fruit as possible. Extra post fermentation time on skins allowed for maximum fine tannin uptake. Malolactic fermentation in tank followed by new French oak maturation for the first year. Blended and returned to third-fill French oak barrels for a further year. Unfiltered, unfined and unfiddled into bottle. 100 cases sold at the 2006 Auction. Tasting Notes Very decadent nose of toasty spice, chocolate and fruit. Entry to palate rich, dark berry, cloves, liquorice and chocolate. All these flavours are backed by fine grape tannins.
Made using normal winemaking practises but with cooler fermentation temperatures to retain as much fruit as possible. Extra post fermentation time on skins allowed for maximum fine tannin uptake. Malolactic fermentation in tank followed by new French oak maturation for the first year. Blended and returned to third-fill French oak barrels for a further year. Unfiltered, unfined and unfiddled into bottle. Tasting Note: Very decadent nose of toasty spice, chocolate and fruit. Entry to palate rich, dark berry, cloves, liquorice and chocolate. All these flavours are backed by fine grape tannins.
The grapes were selected from two vineyard sites - Bottelary and Helderberg - in Stellenbosch. Cooler fermentation than normal in order to preserve fruit, with four weeks on skins after fermentation. 100% New French oak for 12 months, no fining or filtration. Tasting Note: Expressive nose of plum pudding, chocolate, dark toffee and savoury undertones. Cherry compote, chocolate sauce and cinnamon flavours - the mix of these backed with toasty wood tannins. Lingering toffee-like sweetness on the finish. A thread of Dutch 'Zoute Drop' Liquorice runs through this wine.