Luddite 2007 Shiraz

From the Merriam-Webster
Posted 25th February 2013        

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Luddite 2007 ShirazFrom the Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of “Luddite”

One of a group of early 19th century English workmen destroying laborsaving machinery as a protest; broadly : one who is opposed to especially technological change.”

I think that South African winemaker Nils Verburg would identify his winemaking philosophy with the latter rather than the former definition.

To quote him from his website, they “…are unabashed luddites who apply a technology-resistant philosophy to their methods, farming conscientiously with minimum mechanization” and aiming to make a wine that’s “as natural as possible, with little or no intervention. It’s about knowing that when you buy a bottle of Luddite, what’s inside is genuine and made with integrity…”

While those are noble sentiments, I’ve had too many natural wines that are just plain bad wine-making disguised as the latest wine drinking fad. Happily, I can say that Nils’ Luddite is none of the sort, a well made, balanced wine that was genuine surprise to me when I  tasted it at DVine Wine Cellars the other day.

The Luddite winery is located on the eastern slopes of the Houw Hoek Mountain in the Walker Bay region of  South Africa. The vineyard gets plenty of morning sunshine which makes for long ripening and produces wines with spicy characteristics.

I tried the Luddite 2007 while I was at DVine Cellars and it was not what I was expecting; Shiraz from South Africa is not a favourite of mine but this one was a beauty. I could smell the rich aromas wafting from the glass, loads of red and black fruit mixed with vanilla notes. On the palate, a very evenly balanced wine, medium bodied, bursting with fruit flavours and an intensity of flavour that lingered long after the wine was gone. The one characteristic I noticed or rather lack of it, was a certain green stalkiness that one often finds in South African red wines. I would also like to add that there are sulfites in the wine, which when we are talking natural wines, is no bad thing.

I’m glad to see that these Luddites are on the right track. The Luddite 2007 Shiraz is available from DVine Cellars and  costs £26.50


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Denise Medrano
I'm an American ex-pat who is fascinated by wine. Previous to my arrival in London, I had done a sommelier course in Buenos Aires, Argentina so I knew I wanted to be in the wine trade but where to start? I started where so many people in the UK wine trade start, Oddbins. I was fortunate in that Oddbins back then had a great wine education partnership with the Wine and Spirit Educational Trust and I was able take the WSET courses. I currently have the WSET Advanced Certificate as well as holding a UK personal alcohol license. Another advantage to working at Oddbins was that I had access to all the wine trade shows. Imagine, being able to go and try as many wines as you could in one day! Whew! I have to admit, I didn't do much spitting back then and the next day, I was wishing I had at least taken better notes. I started looking around on the web for blogs that covered the London wine scene and found there were none. Well, none that appealed to me. None that were a mix of trade and consumer views and opinions. And none that really talked about what a great centre of wine this fabulous city of London is. So I rolled up my sleeves, bought a domain name and the rest, as they say, is The Winesleuth history. The Winesleuth Website - Follow The Winesleuth on Twitter