Le Bonheur Prima, Simonsberg Stellenbosch

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Le Bonheur Prima a red wine blend from the Simonsberg Stellenbosch wine growing appellation of South Africa. This 163-hectare estate with the optimistic name of Le Bonheur (“Happiness”) is situated along the slopes of the Klapmuts Hill in the northern reaches of the Simonsberg Mountain, in the Stellenbosch Wine of Origin district. Klapmuts is the old Dutch word for the 18th century cocked hat that folded away into the saddle back pocket and, indeed, when observed from a distance, the hill resembles such a hat. Le Bonheur has an enviable terroir. Most of the 65 hectares of vineyards face north, while a few face east and south-east. The vineyards are situated at different altitudes from 200 to 350 metres above sea-level, and each has its own, unique soil characteristics. There are four basic soil types at Le Bonheur: decomposed granite, red loam, sand, and sand over pot clay. Winemaker Sakkie Kotzé’s dedication and attention to detail really come to the fore once the grapes are ripe and ready to be harvested. The bunches are carefully picked by hand and placed in small baskets to prevent the fruit from bruising. The grapes are then hand-sorted, and only bunches passing exacting scrutiny are selected for fermentation. The reason is simple : “If the best French chateaux take the trouble to sort their grapes, so can we.”

Le Bonheur Prima has a preponderance of Merlot (68%), underpinned by 22% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Grapes were sourced from vineyards on the estate located at 200m to 350m above sea level, cultivated under dryland conditions. The Merlot vines were planted in 1987 and the Cabernet Sauvignon vines from in 1986. Upon completion of malolactic fermentation the cultivars were matured separately in 300-litre French oak barrels for a period of 18 months, 65% new and 35% second-fill French (90%) and American (10%) oak.

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