At the foot of the majestic Langeberg Mountains resides Le Roux & Fourie Vignerons on Buitenstekloof farm, established circa 1823. Four of the original vines were discovered here, still growing deep within the indigenous bush in the kloof, where Le Roux pioneers had first built their house and established a small vineyard and almond orchard.
In 2003, brothers Johan and Le Roux Fourie started producing wine in honor of their French Huguenot forbears and grandfathers, Le Roux and Fourie. The brothers believe wine making is a life long passion with a strong legacy. Their forbears came from France to the southernmost tip of Africa with a will to be free and to contribute something unique to the immense flavor of South Africa.
• Le Roux & Fourie is the first cellar in the Robertson Wine Valley, situated on Route 62.
• Due to the high limestone deposits in the soil, wines of distinction are produced.
• Le Roux & Fourie’s signature Carignan is one of the few wines in South Africa that is 100% from the Carignan grape.
The LRF philosophy is to make unique terroir based wines and to not compete directly with others. As they produce hand-crafted wines, the Fouries have the luxury of harvesting 3 to 4 times through a single block, giving control over the wine’s structure and balance.
“We work with the bounty of nature in a flexible and organic way. It is a hands-on operation and fairly labor intensive. No mechanical harvesting or pruning is done due to the relative size of our boutique wine practices. We believe in making unique, well balanced wines. Our wines are limited edition, individually numbered bottles and only the best from the barrel is bottled and blended.” - Johan Fourie
The cellar is the first straw bale cellar in South Africa and also the highest structure of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere (9m at its highest point), as far as is known. It is specially designed to create the perfect climate for winemaking, incidentally reducing the carbon footprint and energy usage substantially.
The cellar is environmentally friendly in contrast to materials such as normal bricks and mortar. The stucco mix plaster rendering contains 50% limestone for breathability. Energy is dramatically saved because of the thermal capacity of straw bales. The cooler cellar climate provides perfect fermentation temperatures and slow maturation — so much so, that straw bales are stacked as a maturation area and some of the barrels are covered with straw bale “blankets” to help with Malolactic fermentation. Those straw bales are then used as mulch in the vineyards after a season or two of serving in the maturation area.
At Le Roux & Fourie, high value is placed on conserving nature. LRF is part of the Rooiberg Conservancy and follows an eco-friendly approach to all farming activities. The secluded and eco-friendly Buitenstekloof Mountain Cottages offer a complete “off the grid” experience with an abundance of birds, small game and mountain tortoises. The farm is also part of the Leopard and Predator Project of the Landmark Foundation. Frequent sightings of the elusive leopard and other predators occur.
The Terroir: "White Gold" Lime Deposits
The sun rises late and sets early (from 9am to 4pm) in certain sections of the Shiraz, Pinotage and Sauvignon Blanc. This creates a unique microclimate and terroir.
If you’re looking for distinctiveness, look at the smallish, almost round circles of brighter green vegetation on the slopes where the soil composition sustains a species you will find nowhere else in the world. This is totally unique terroir. There is one such species that is only found on the farm, duly noted by Prof. van Jaarsveld, Cape Town Botanical Gardens (for purposes of plant poaching, the name is left out). It is a combination of perseverance, passion and terroir that compels the Fourie brothers to craft extraordinarily unique wines.