The Cape Winelands, 15 years on and still in love!
Do you find, like me, that your senses sometimes take over and you can't ignore them? That gut-feeling is so strong you have to act on it? So it was with me back in 1995.
The 1990s were a hectic time worldwide but none more so than in South Africa, Nelson Mandela had been released and soon became its President giving the country a positive and forward thinking agenda. Likewise the wine industry based in The Cape was no less excited and soon vibrant and superb wines began to appear in the UK from unknown, talented winemakers.
In summer of '94 I attended the London International Wine Fair as usual & got really excited when I tasted wine from a new wine estate called Jordan Wines. Ted and Sheelagh Jordan had bought an old established farm in 1982 and started an extensive re-planting programme and during that time their son Gary and his wife Kathy had diligently learned their craft studying and working around the world. After 10 years they decided the vines were ready to make wines good enough to export.
As I tasted them, there in London, something inside me awoke, saying 'you must go and meet these people' and the next February I did just that. This started not only a delightful friendship but also a love affair with The Capelands which, over the last 15 years, has not diminished such I have now visited in excess of 15 times.
I have been lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time and now know the 'movers and shakers' of The Cape Winelands.
A few years later when Gary was staying at my home in Charnwood, he told me of his Great-Grandfather Alfred, who was indentured as a shoe-maker in a place called Ratby. He said how he had left Leicestershire for South Africa where he became very successful and ultimately built a manor house he called Bradgate but the family never knew why.
I gave Gary my car keys, pointed him towards Charnwood Forest and 'lost' him for the day. He visited both Groby and Ratby churches learning family history as he went. From here it was but a short ride to our beautiful park that bears the same name as that manor house. Indeed if you visit Ratby churchyard you will quickly see the Jordan family name on a number of tombstones and Alfred's father is buried in Groby churchyard. To celebrate their ancestors and give a permanent link to their origins they now have a range of wines called Bradgate and we were the very first people to sell them in the UK. As you can imagine I was delighted and have a glow of pride whenever I sell a bottle.
Since 1992 Jordan Wines have had amazing success winning accolades and awards worldwide. Indeed in 2007 they won the coveted Mission Hill Chardonnay Trophy for 'best Chardonnay in the world' and Cobblers Hill Bordeaux Blend 2005 was awarded 5 stars in the John Platter 2009 Wine Guide. We at 'George Hill' are pleased to list 9 of their wines along with an extensive range from all of the Cape Wine Regions and I can honestly say I am still passionate about this beautiful place.
To Celebrate The Range Of Bradgate Wines And Add Some Cape Sun To Your Wine Enjoyment, For The Months Of June And July We Offer A 10% Discount On Every Bottle.
If you buy a mixed case of 12 that discount will increase to 15%.
Bradgate Chenin / Sauvignon £6.70 Case price £6.33 usual price £7.45
Bradgate Cabernet / Merlot £7.19 Case price £6.79 usual price £7.99
You can learn more of Gary & Kathy at their website;
(Above Image Description: Kathy Jordan testing sugar levels)