Introducing Franco Lourens
Franco is one of the bright lights of the Cape’s winemaking scene and we can't wait to let you guys in on some of his wines!
Franco is the assistant winemaker for Chris Alheit – a (or in our view, the) leading light of South Africa’s New Wave and champion of old-vine Chenin, among others. From Chris’ cellar in Hemel-en-Aarde, Franco has made some serious wines. I mean, these are impressive bottlings by any standard – powerful, concentrated, yet supremely elegant and finely detailed. Has the student become the master?
We have two phenomenal wines from Franco. A Swartland red blend made from Mediterranean varieties which is every bit as pellucidly profound as the best terroir reds you’ll find in this region. And a stunning white blend based on the oldest block of Verdelho planted in South Africa, including some skin-macerated Grenache Blanc, and Clairette and Roussanne aged in amphorae.
This is a breathtakingly self-assured range and almost in the blink of an eye places Franco into the very top bracket of top-end New Wave SA producers.
'A beautifully complex wine from Franco Lourens with plenty of opulence and allure. Another superbly well constructed white blend using varietals from around the Western Cape that are becoming so well suited to South African terroir. The nose is ripe and expressive, slightly lactic and creamy, brimming with exotic yellow pastille, tinned pineapple, vanilla pod spice and rock candy notes. The palate has laser-like freshness and crisp, polished precision. Texturally very fine and focused with wound spring tension, underpinned by bristling acids and a tart pineapple and white citrus vivacity. This is such a distinguished blend with the multiple varieties so tightly interwoven so as to become one entity. Lovers of serious Cape white wines will find this new release hard to resist! So start drinking now until 2025+' Greg Sherwood MW
'The 2017 Howard John, named after Franco Louren’s father (Franco being Chris Alheit’s wingman) is a blend of Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah and Carignan. It has a superb, detailed bouquet - very pure and very Old World in style – featuring Provencal-herb-infused black fruit and a touch of fennel. The palate is medium-bodied with some quite firm tannin, the 80% whole bunches lending a sense of earthiness to the structured finish that suggests it will benefit from a couple of years in bottle. Very fine.' Neal Martin Report 2018
We have also managed to source a very small number of his Skuinskap Steen (his big gun). It has slightly more vigour on the nose, where fennel and peppermint infuse yellow stone fruit, all nicely defined. The palate is well balanced with a taut line of acidity and quite saline in the mouth; a touch of stem ginger and white pepper surfaces toward the persistent finish. Truly excellent.
We currently only have limited stock of these incredible wines from a maker set to rival the great Chris Alheit. If you are interested email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!
- Chris Rogers