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Ama Culture: Delaire Graff’s Innovative Sunrise Brut

Delaire Graff, one of the leading Art and Wine destinations in Stellenbosch, has released a new champagne-style wine named after the famous ‘Delaire Sunrise’ Diamond and inspired by the French Loire. By Christine Lundy

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ABOVE: The Delaire Graff Sunrise Brut, and the diamond it’s named after. Images courtesy of Delaire Graff and Graff Diamonds.

Delaire Graff Wine Estate is located in one of my favourite parts of the South African winelands, the breath-taking Helshoogte’s pass on the slopes of the Botmaskop, with panoramic views of vineyards and the Simonsberg Mountains. Laurence Graff, British jeweller and owner of the estate, was so inspired by the beauty of the sunrise and sunset here that, when he launched his 118.08-carat diamond, he named it ‘The Delaire Sunrise’. The largest square emerald cut Fancy Vivid Yellow diamond in the world, it was originally discovered in an alluvial mine in South Africa. Naming it after Delaire was a celebration of Graff’s love for Africa and the beauty of this magnificent stone.

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ABOVE: Some of the art collection at Delaire Graff and the magnificent views. Images courtesy of Delaire Graff.

Graff – also one of the world’s top art collectors, owning an extensive modern and contemporary art collection − has a drive for exceptionality and innovation. The Méthode Cap Classique (MCC), Sunrise Brut, follows the same vein. The production of a sparkling wine is a new concept for the Estate and was already a challenge, so Morne Vrey, Delaire Graff’s wine maker, decided to create something really unique; A South African, Chenin-Blanc-driven, ‘Cremant de Loire’ blend, a first in South Africa. Vrey says, “South Africa is famous for Chenin Blanc wines and vineyards, some of which are ancient. As a result, these vineyards have always offered an invitation to winemakers to push the envelope in terms of style”. What is even more innovative is the use of Cabernet Franc, a red grape to complete this interesting multifaceted blend of 58% Chenin Blanc from Stellenbosch, 34% Chardonnay from Elgin and 8% Caberbernet Franc from Stellenbosch. The result is a fresh, elegant, fine sparkling wine with strong citrus notes, quite different to the more traditional Chardonnay Pinot Noir MCC.

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ABOVE: Delaire Graff Sunrise Brut in front of the sunrise a diamond was named after and art displayed within the Wine Estate building. Images courtesy of Delaire Graff.

As this wine is only available at the Estate, the best way is to taste it is surrounded by the works of South African artists Anton and Lionel Smit, Deborah Bell, Ndikhumbule Ngqihambi, William Kentridge and others.

For more information about Delaire Graff’s wine and art collection visit www.delaire.co.za