About this WINE
The Foundry is the personal project of Chris Williams, winemaker at Meerlust, along with friend and business partner James Reid. Chris spent his apprenticeship under Georgio dalla Cia at Meerlust and did a ‘stage’ in Pomerol with Michel Rolland before leaving in 1999 to set himself up as a consultant. During this period, he took on the challenge of winemaker at Delaire in Stellenbosch, but when Giorgio finally announced his retirement, the Myburghs invited Chris to return to Meerlust as cellar master, a post he took up in time for the 2004 vintage.
Apparently, during this period, his mail was still being delivered to the farm, such was his emotional connection to the estate. The condition of his return to Meerlust was that The Foundry could continue unhindered so, after three vintages, the project secured a more permanent home.
The Foundry rapidly gained critical acclaim on the South African wine scene. Its maiden vintage (2001) Syrah was awarded a five star rating (one of only 17 for the year) in the 2004 John Platter Guide, and its wines remain excellent to this day.
Stellenbosch is South Africa’s best-known wine region, producing a wide variety of wines from leading estates, even though it accounts for less than 20 per cent of the country’s total production. Designated wards within the wine region are Jonkershoek Valley, Simonsberg-Stellenbosch, Bottelary, Devon Valley and Papegaaiberg.
At 17,500 hectares, Stellenbosch remains the Cape's most famous and important fine wine district, thanks to its proximity to Cape Town, to the cooling influences of False Bay, its mountainous (ie Helderberg, Simonsberg), granitic topography and its centres of learning such as Elsenburg Agricultural College.
Roussanne is one of the most important white grape varieties in the Rhône Valley. It is a particularly pernickety grape to cultivate being a notoriously low yielder as well as being highly susceptible to rot. It is difficult to ripen, and seemingly prone to oxidation at every opportunity. Roussanne's name comes from its russet-coloured skin and it produces richly aromatic wines, often with fruit characteristics of lime and blossom.
In the northern Rhône it is typically blended with Marsanne to produce the white wines of Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage, St-Joseph, and St-Péray. Generally Marsanne is the dominant partner and it lends colour, body and weight to the blend, as well as richly scented fruit, while Roussanne contributes bouquet, delicacy and finesse.
It is grown less extensively in the southern Rhône although it is one of the permitted varieties in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. There are plantings of Roussanne in the Languedoc and Rousillon and in the last decade the grape have been cultivated with particular success in California, where it is produced both as a single varietal and as a component of Rhône-style blends.