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Graham Beck Wines’ ultra premium Cuvée Clive goes nationwide

Lovers of fine fizz are undoubtedly bubbling over at the news that the crème de la crème of South Africa’s Cap Classique style wines is now enjoying increased availability. . Graham Beck Wines’ maiden vintage Cuvée Clive 2003 (from the cellar’s Prestige Collection) is distributed exclusively throughout the country by DGB (Pty) Ltd, South Africa’s largest independent wine and spirit producer and distributor.

Although this spectacular sparkler has been available directly from the Graham Beck Wines cellar doors since its release in 2009, the decision to make it more widely available is sure to be hailed as an excellent move by wine lovers everywhere.

“Over the years Graham Beck Wines has definitely earned its status as one of South Africa’s leading Cap Classique producers, while establishing a loyal following amongst lovers of this time honoured style of wine across the globe. We are thrilled that our bubblies are the drink of choice to mark milestones, celebrate special moments and bear witness to memories in the making. Cuvée Clive represents the pinnacle of our Cap Classique artistic inspiration and creative endeavours – the culmination of meticulous planning, determined effort and tenacious dedication in the pursuit of the perfect bubble,” comments Graham Beck Wines celebrated cellarmaster Pieter “Bubbles” Ferreira.

In 1991 Graham Beck Wines commenced the quest to produce world class Cap Classiques. Their soils possess a unique limestone character which ensures natural acidity in the grapes. On the Beck family farm, Madeba, in Robertson the team has been hard at work renewing their Cap Classique vineyards – planting better, more virus resistant material to improve the overall quality of the grapes harvested.

Since 2002 they have consistently reaped the benefits of these improvements and witnessed a considerable shift towards producing increased quality on both the Pinot Noir and the Chardonnay – the traditional building blocks of their award winning range of Cap Classique wines. The Cuvée Clive 2003 is a blend of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir, with the former contributing elegance and fruit finesse, while the latter lends body, structure and length of flavour.

In the cellar both hand-picked varietals for this exclusive Cap Classique were separately bunch pressed. Only the highest quality juice (tête de cuvée which means ‘head of the class’) was selected and allowed to settle overnight. The juice was then fermented in stainless steel tanks at 16ºC with a small portion of the Chardonnay fermented in specially designated Piece Champenoise (205-liter) French oak barrels.

After fermentation only the very best portions were chosen for their minerality, elegance and finesse. The wine was then bottled for the secondary fermentation to take place, after which it benefited from no less than 60 months yeast contact before disgorgement. The Cuvée Clive is made in the brut style with only a minimal amount of sugar added at disgorgement.

Unquestionably the wines which elicit the greatest admiration in a sparkling wine range are the prestige cuvées or cuvée speciale. These wines are the result of a favourable vintage and only produced in exceptional years. They represent stricter selection than for the normal vintage wine and reflect extreme care in the cellar and the pursuit of even greater excellence.

“How can this remarkable bubbly be so complex, so subtle and, yet, so mature? That’s the alluring paradox of Cuvée Clive Vintage 2003! The wine is irresistibly approachable and well rounded – youthful and gorgeous from the get-go, but with the potential to age. It’s exceptionally versatile – the perfect partner to a wide variety of dishes. Cuvée Clive has undoubtedly achieved the fundamental requirement of that which defines a prestige cuvée – complexity,” explains Pieter.

Prestige Cuvées are often named after prominent characters with a connection to that producer, for instance Veuve Clicquot’s La Grande Dame and Pol Roger’s Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill. Cuvée Clive is named in honour of Graham and Rhona Beck’s oldest son, Clive, who died tragically in his 30’s. As a committed family wine business Graham Beck Wines felt it only fitting to dub this iconic wine Clive.

Cuvée Clive 2003 is available at bespoke retailers and restaurants, including Makro Woodmead, Norman Goodfellows, Carolines Fine Wine, Wine Concepts on Kloof, Cellars Hohenort Hotel, Cape Grace, Mount Nelson, Parklane Cellars (PMB), etc.  Approximate retail price:  R450 (Incl VAT) per bottle.


All creatures great and small

Graham Beck Wines unveils an exciting ‘new’ label

Out with the old and in with the new! Aficionados of the popular Graham Beck Wines  Gamekeeper’s Reserve range will be thrilled to discover a sophisticated new makeover to this eye-catching and distinctive label. Whilst the message behind the wine and the outstanding quality in the bottle remain unchanged, the name has been altered to better reflect this innovative producer’s unswerving concern for the environment.

The 2009 Chenin Blanc and 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon in this range now sport the new name ‘The Game Reserve’, which more aptly expresses this well loved cellar’s commitment to conservation and biodiversity. Over the years Graham Beck Wines has become an internationally recognized leader in sustainable wine production and most recently was lauded for their efforts in the high profile inaugural Drinks Business Green Awards.

The label design for both The Game Reserve wines has also been subtly tweaked to be more contemporary and appealing, while still remaining authentic to the theme of conservation. The Chenin features the endangered and highly elusive South African Riverine Rabbit and taking pride of place on the Cab is the majestic kudu (antelope) – both are fitting symbols of Graham Beck Wines’ commitment to preserving the country’s unique fauna and flora.

“At Graham Beck Wines we believe in giving nothing less than our very best. Our dedication to farming sustainably and producing environmentally and ethically responsible wines in harmony with nature is a long term commitment to safeguarding the health and welfare of our planet,” maintains Graham Beck Wines GM, Gary Baumgarten.

“In recognition of our dedication to reducing the environmental impact of our activities and ensuring the preservation of our ecological future, Graham Beck Wines holds no less than Champion Status from the Biodiversity in Wine Initiative (BWI), a partnership between the South African wine industry and conservationist concerns,” comments celebrated Graham Beck Wines cellarmaster Pieter Ferreira.

The wildlife reserve situated on Graham and Rhona Beck’s Robertson estate, Madeba, is an unparalleled success story. Around 1885 hectares of natural vegetation have been demarcated for conservation, inspiring many neighbouring farms to follow suit. The Reserve is home to many endangered animal and plant species and comprises large tracts of highly sensitive succulent Karoo veld, one of the three major types of vegetation found within the world famous Cape Floral Kingdom. By purchasing The Game Reserve wines, wine lovers are making a tangible contribution towards the preservation of South Africa’s precious natural heritage.

The Game Reserve Chenin Blanc 2009

The Game Reserve Chenin Blanc 2009 is a 100% Chenin Blanc. The fruit for this wine was harvested from 40 – 50 year old dryland low yielding bush vines planted on very deep soils. The grapes were left to ripen fully to ensure the development of rich, ripe flavours and complexity.

Aromas of upfront tropical fruit, ripe melon, pineapple, peaches and honey abound, while on the palate delicate flavours of ripe tropical fruit intermingle. The final product is a rich, full-bodied wine with a juicy palate and long, clean and crisp aftertaste. It’s an ideal food wine, great company for alfresco lunches and perfectly suited to a wide variety of dishes such as grilled chicken or fish, rich pasta dishes and spicy food.

“I love Chenin Blanc as it’s such a rewarding varietal. Chenin loves the South African climate and is an extremely versatile grape. The older vineyards deliver some of the best fruit and can undoubtedly produce world class wines,” comments Erika Obermeyer, Graham Beck Wines Franschhoek winemaker.

The Game Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

The Game Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 is a 100% Cab. The fruit for this wine was sourced from a selection of prime Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards from the Robertson Estate including a site located on the South-East facing slope of the Rooiberg Mountain that incorporates the game reserve on the Graham Beck property. The vines are planted on red Karoo soil which is also home to the delicate, yet resilient fynbos which the game feed on adjacent to the vineyard. These vines yield around eight tons per hectare.

The grapes for this wine were handpicked at full phenolic ripeness during the second week of March 2008. In the cellar they were destalked, gently crushed and fermented with four daily pump overs to ensure maximum extraction. Once dry, the juice was pressed and transferred into 2nd fill French and American oak for malolactic fermentation in barrel. The wine spent a further 10 months in barrel to develop complexity and a full mouthfeel.

“It’s a wine with gorgeous aromas of black berry fruit, dark chocolate and cassis on the nose complemented by secondary cigar box whiffs and spicy mineral flavours. This classy Cab delivers a rich, juicy entry and elegant palate with a long satisfying finish,” says Irene Waller, Graham Beck Wines Robertson winemaker. “It’s divine with roast meat dishes, barbeques, venison or even as an excellent match for a robust and creamy mushroom risotto,” she reveals.

Both wines are available from the Graham Beck Wines cellar door at  R50.00 (Incl VAT) per bottle for The Game Reserve Chenin Blanc 2009 and  R80.00 (Incl VAT) per bottle for the The Game Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2008. These wines, distributed by DGB on behalf of Graham Beck Wines, are also available at Makro, Ultra Liquors and other selected retailers as well as bespoke restaurants. For more information contact Etienne Heyns on 021 874 1258 or