JC Le Roux
The House of J.C. Le Roux is exclusively dedicated to the production of fine sparkling wines and is considered to be the leading house of sparkling wine in South Africa. Situated in the fertile Devon Valley, close to the historic and picturesque town of Stellenbosch, J.C. Le Roux is based in the Cape’s premier wine growing region.
Champagne (as it is known in France) or sparkling wine, was first created more than three centuries ago, and since that day its magic effervescent bubbles have been present at most celebratory events. Dom Perignon (the Franciscan monk) was credited with being the first one to make champagne, but some historians believe that champagne was first discovered by the English in the 17th century. In fact, in 1662 (30 years prior to Perignon's discovery) Christopher Merret wrote to the London Royal Society and described the method used by wine coopers of adding molasses and sugar to create a sparkling wine. The only problem was that the sediment in the champagne clouded the liquid, spoiling the overall effect.
It was only a century later that the innovative widow Cliquot devised a plan to remove the cloudiness. She had the ingenious idea of asking her servants to drill holes in her dining room table and placing the champagne bottles angled in these. The bottles were then rotated slightly each day, so that the sediment collected in the bottle necks after a period of time and could then be removed. The champagne was now crystal clear as we know it today. Although techniques and cellar craft have vastly improved over the years, this simple method devised by the French widow still forms the basis of the famous Méthode Champenoise, or Méthode Cap Classique (as it is known in South Africa).
During France’s religious persecution, numerous French Huguenots had to flee to the Cape of Good Hope to begin a new life. No doubt, the Mediterranean climate and fertile valleys reminded them of their home that they had left behind. Their influence on life at the Cape was immense as they brought with them their expertise and considerable knowledge of viticulture. Amongst them was the prominent Huguenot, Jean le Roux, who arrived from Normandy in 1704 to settle in Stellenbosch. He decided to plant 8,000 vines in the Stellenbosch region and continued the fine tradition of viticulture in the Devon Valley.
Today, the J.C. Le Roux estate still remains on part of this historic farm and is testimony to the illustrious contribution made by this prominent family.