Hoping that you have had a good week. With restrictions easing, how does it feel for you? For us, it has started to feel very noisy! More to process and deal with. But having had the time to lockdown, declutter and reset, it allows us to take a breath of fresh air journeying into the new ease up.
Meanwhile, happily, we celebrated my Aunty May’s 95th birthday this week. A large part of our story goes to Aunty May and she continues to be a huge inspiration. Our family had the pleasure of meeting Aunty May in the eighties when I was about twelve. We visited her at her Chateau Pichon Lalande in Bordeaux. Imagine this twelve-year-old girl in awe of this French lady, Madame de Lenquesaing, with warm immaculate magnificent presence, a mountain of knowledge and someone who has become so meaningful in my life. It has been wonderful to be part of her journey.
Aunty May made Dad a Commanderie of Bordeaux. Invited me to her Legion d’Honour ceremony. We have had the pleasure of attending many of her milestone birthdays.
Who would have thought two decades later, when we told Aunty May that we were going to produce wine, she immediately invited me to stay at Pichon to experience vendange (vintage) 2002. It wasn’t till about seven years ago when Aunty May said to me, "Charmaine, I think it is time you stop calling me Madame de Lencquesaing and call me Aunty May".
Pichon was sold in her eighties to producer Roederer and guess what she did? Journeyed to South Africa and created the beautiful Glenelly wine and estate. So, you can believe me when I say, whenever I feel remotely off-piste, I just think of Aunty May and voom I am all good!
Young me visiting Chateau Pichon Lalande in Bordeaux.
Pichon is why we planted Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot when we bought the vineyard in 1997, with the thought of Pichon’s Bordeaux blend, aka our Cabernet Merlot. Growing up drinking wine that has had time to develop is how our philosophy was derived, giving wine time to get ready in the bottle before release. It allows the wine to develop character and its story. What I love most is to open an aged bottle that has had time to build character and immediately start the conversation and taste the development in the glass.
Inspired by Chateau Pichon itself, we present our 2017 Cabernet Merlot. In 2017 we only blended the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, we didn’t blend with Cabernet Franc that year. This classic blend does especially well in Margaret River with the dark fruit, depth and drive of Cabernet Sauvignon softened by the bright flavours and rounded tannin of Merlot. A perfect wine for Sunday roast lamb or beef.
Also keep an eye out next week when we will be presenting our 2010 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon in a vertical tasting video along with other vintages. The Sauvignon Blanc Semillon is a brilliant marriage that has become a real stronghold in Margaret River inspired by the Bordeaux white blend.
Please share with us in paying homage to our Aunty May on her 95th, she has contributed so much to the wine industry, her love for all things Bordeaux and now Stellenbosch. And we thank her for gifting us with this love & philosophy.
With Balance & Contentment,
Charmaine and Team UMAMU
PS we had to pull out the Petit Verdot vines as we discovered they came with a virus and would not take. It is an incredible shame but alas it is the lay of the land.