Following close on the heels of the birth of his daughter, Louis Nel has at last released the maiden vintage of his own wines, simply called “Louis”.
“After three years of buying grapes, late nights and hard work in the cellar, spending ridiculous amounts of money on the best possible barrels and packaging, and then having to wait impatiently for the wine to come around, I am very happy with what we are able to offer the world today” says a suitably chuffed Louis as his wines have already garnered critical acclaim both locally and abroad.
The origin of this project seems to have been written in the stars when Louis’ mother, for his very first birthday, baked him a cake but then realized she did not have any colouring for icing. Being a resourceful woman, however, she used red wine as a colouring agent, thereby seemingly giving direction to Louis’ ultimate destiny of becoming a winemaker. This event is depicted on both labels.
Louis is a member of the Cape Winemakers Guild and has made wine at Neil Ellis and Warwick amongst others. His numerous winemaking stints overseas laid a solid foundation for his career to date and fanned his dream of releasing his own wine.
The 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon is the flagship wine from a vineyard that has gained notoriety for causing conflict between the owners of two adjoining farms. The grapes coming from the disputed land were vinified separately and bottled as the “Neighbour’s Wrath” Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 and sold earlier this year on the Cape Winemakers Guild Auction, gaining an impressive score of 93 points from the highly-regarded wine-critic, Stephen Tanzer. The intensity of fruit, soft mouth-hugging tannins, and length on the palate make this wine of international standard. “Wine has a soul, and this wine’s soul is that of a civilized Viking warrior, that was good at maths and liked jazz. The soft luscious tannins and concentrated fruit are a culmination of the alchemy of the vineyard site, which is far removed from the realm of comprehension of a mere winemaker.” Louis believes that this wine, like his newborn daughter, is already quite beautiful, but will reward patience and be much more accessible in three years’ time.
Although the project is small, no expense was spared as far as barrels, grapes and packaging design are concerned. The labels, logos and cartons were all designed by Hero design in Cape Town, and they also helped to turn Louis’ vision into reality. “After one has put in so much effort in making the wine, why stop there? The last mile is just as important as the first. Boring labels have been done so many times, it was time for something different which also conveyed the ‘out-of-the-box’ attitude that is a hallmark of this project”.
The Cabernet Sauvignon will retail for around R245, while the Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot retails for approximately R100.