François Naude won seven prestigious Absa Top 10 Pinotage awards during his time as winemaker at l’Avenir, but he has now handed over the reigns to Dirk Coetzee, who won his first Absa this month.
His l’Avenir Pinotage 2013 from the Provenance range, which retails at £15, was the first choice by judges.
It is part of a new three-tier range Coetzee has created, which aims to reflect South Africa’s viticultural heritage by focusing on Pinotage and Chenin Blanc.
At entry level his l’Avenir Chenin Blanc 2012 Rosé de Pinotage 2012retail at £7-8, while the Wine Society has started listing l’Avenir Pinotage 2012 at £7.50.
The mid-range tier is the Provenance range, and then in the Grand Vins tier l’Avenir Grands Vin Pinotage 2009 has an rrp of £25-29 and l’Avenir Grand Vin Chenin Blanc 2011 retails at £20-25.
Coetzee said: “The UK is a priority market for l’Avenir and we think our new style – ‘proudly South African with a touch of French flair’ – will really appeal to UK wine lovers.”
The 55ha vineyard and winery was purchased in 2006 by Michel Laroche, whose family has produced Chablis since 1850 and has 145ha in France.
The French-South African link is highlighted by pictures of French animals like poodles and South African mammals such as springbok on the new labels.
“We work closely with the production manager in France who helps out, so there is a French influence,” said Coetzee.
“But these wines are really designed to show the history of South African wine. Pinotage is proudly South African. It’s our heritage. We live, sleep and eat Pinotage on our farm.
"The grape has almost been abused in large crops, but it's such a lovely varietal and we want to show it at its best."
He added: “These wines are so well-priced for the quality you get at every tier, from entry level to the Grand Vins, which are immaculate.”
L’Avenir will continue to supply its Laroche range – which is sold in Sainsbury’s – along with the new wines.