IDUN at Caviste
Last week, after a busy few days of tasting wines around the South of the UK, Idun, from Elgin, South Africa, popped in to our Newlyns shop to show of some wines.
We first shipped them in December 2021, and they take pride of place in our South African range. It was wonderful to revisit these sensational wines and learn more about their unique terroir from the owners, Albert & Joanne Rousset.
Their journey to winemaking, and Elgin in particular, was a bit of an accident. While it had always been a dream of Albert's - a field of vines on one side of the driveway, a field of race horses on the other - it was a chance occurrence that lead them to their current site.
This captivating, fertile valley’s agricultural potential was unlocked with the arrival of the first European settlers in the 1800s. One of the earliest farms, Grietjiesgat, later developed into the village of Grabouw, which today sits in the heart of Elgin. The town received its moniker from a German painter, Willem Langschmidt, who settled on Grietjiesgat in 1856 and named the surrounding area after his birthplace, Grabau. (It’s worth mentioning that the fecundity that prevails in the valley also affected the Langschmidts, who had 23 children).
Today, beautiful cut flowers, olives, pears, apples and grapes are cultivated in Elgin. Out of all these delights, the area’s apples are perhaps the most seductive. From pretty, tart Pink Lady to crisp, crimson Top Red, over 60% of South Africa’s apples come from here and are exported worldwide
Not to be outdone by the apples, the valley’s wines are truly something else. They’re made from grapes that ripen slowly because of Elgin’s fertile soil, location some 350 m above sea level and cool Mediterranean climate. The result is world-famous ‘cool climate’ wines that are delicate, elegant and age beautifully due to their higher acidity.
It's this 'cool climate' aspect that IDUN particularly focus on. Put away your standard conception of South African wines.
These are lighter, more delicate. Plenty of flavour, don't get us wrong, but with subtlety and finesse.
Despite being at it for a few vintages now, Albert is still short in his search for 'perfection'. The IDUN Sparkling and Syrah have been his closest yet... but there's a constant tinkering that comes with each vintage.
Watch this space, and try every IDUN wine you can, in order to find out how this quest goes!