Adoro, in Latin, means ‘to adore’. And at Adoro Wines, winemaker Ian Naudé and viticulturist Lucas de Kock bring together all the things they adore…
Adoro Wines began in 2004. Surrounded by their beloved dogs, and passionate about blending, the pair set out to produce blends of Old World and New World winemaking style – wines “with a whole that’s greater than the sum of the different terroirs”. They see South Africa as “blessed with such diverse terroir that we can elegantly balance our blends to harmoniously combine the complexity, restraint, and ageing potential of the old world with the fruit-driven structure of the new world”. Opting against fixing themselves to self-owned vineyards, the team is free to choose the grapes that best express the qualities required when blending together the final wine. Their passion and talent were soon recognised by the BenRiach team; at its head, the first two South Africans to own a Scotch whisky distillery, in conjunction with talented master blender Scotsman Billy Walker. In 2005, Adoro was incorporated into the BenRiach portfolio and the brand-proper was born.
Ian Naudé and Lucas de Kock worked together for a number of years at a renowned Stellenbosch estate before their shared enthusiasm inspired them to synthesise their approach and create their own brand. Choosing the name Adoro – in Latin, ‘to adore’ – they decided to base the cellar in Stellenbosch and opted against vineyard ownership, turning instead to relationships fostered over the years with growers of high-quality grapes. While Ian began mentally composing the wines, Lucas visited vineyards to assess grapes and negotiate growth-management according to their shared vision. Geoff Bell, and Wayne Keiswetter, two South African entrepreneurs who, in partnership with Scotsman Billy Walker (one of the most respected master blenders in Scotland), had acquired Benriach Distillery in Speyside, Scotland. Seeking to expand their portfolio, and impressed by Ian and Lucas’ vision and blending skills, Benriach brought Adoro into the fold to create a unique blend.
Passionate About Blends
A wine in mind – the philosophy is simple yet cerebral.
Though Adoro is physically located in Stellenbosch, there is no vineyard ownership. Relationships with growers of high quality fruit from vineyards situated in the right places, stretch back years, and this affords Ian the opportunity to select grapes suited to his requirements. His knowledge of the Cape’s different regions of origin and the ways in which their microclimates influence fruit character allows Ian to mentally compose the wine he wants to produce, before picking.
Taking climatic variations of the vintage year into account, Ian and Lucas seek out the vineyards offering the flavours that will come together in the final blend. It may be no more than a few rows of vines from a given vineyard, but once chosen, the parcel is managed to their specifications.
Yield is also prescribed, and if the green harvest reduces yield by even as much as forty percent, the grower is still paid for normal tonnage in exchange for quality.
adoro adoro Blending – as the grapes are brought into the winery, fermentation is set off, and each lot starts to evolve, Ian begins to construct the architecture of the blend.
With Lucas and a small team, he takes the flavours and textures each lot offers into consideration, first constructing the core mid-palate of the wine. Filling the rest of the palate from the centre out, he adds nuance, dimension, and weight to the wine’s profile and smoothes off the rough edges. The ultimate question is how each component fits into the context of the final blend. Ian thinks of each wine as a circle, balanced, complete and as near to perfection as blending can bring it. His philosophy is that if any component of a blend tastes better alone than in the blend, the blender has missed his mark.
Visit www.adorowines.co.za for more information about Adoro.