JC Le Roux
The House of J.C. Le Roux is South Africa's leading house of sparkling wine dedicated exclusively to the making of fine sparkling wines. They are situated in the fertile Devon Valley near the historic town of Stellenbosch, in the premier wine-growing region of the Cape.
Sparkling wine (or champagne, as it is known in France) was first made three centuries ago, and since then, wherever it is enjoyed its magical sparkle puts the world in a festive mood. It was the Franciscan monk, Dom Perignon, who first made champagne and so delighted was he that he cried out exuberantly, "Today I tasted the stars!"
Contrary to this some historians believe that champagne was first made by the English in the 17th century. A paper to the Royal Society in London by Christopher Merret in 1662 described a method used by wine coopers of adding sugar and molasses to make wines sparkle and Dom Perignon, the French monk did not discover champagne for another 30 years. Excerpt taken from Daily Telegraph , 21st July 06.
Even so, the sediment in the champagne, or sparkling wine, had clouded the liquid, spoiling the effect somewhat.
A century later, it was the ingenious Widow Cliquot who devised a way to eliminate the cloudiness. She had her servants drill holes in her dining room table and place the bottles of champagne in these, at an angle. The bottles were turned a little each day so that, after a period, the sediment collected in the necks and could be removed. Now the champagne was as clear as crystal, as we know it today. Although cellar craft and techniques have become sophisticated, this simple and somewhat primitive method, devised by the capable widow, still forms the basis of the renowned Méthode Champenoise, or Méthode Cap Classique, as it is known in South Africa.
During the time of religious persecution in France, a large number of French Huguenots made their way to the Cape of Good Hope to start a new life. No doubt, the fertile valleys and the Mediterranean climate reminded them of the homeland they had left behind. Their influence on life at the Cape proved to be decisive, as they brought with them their considerable skills and knowledge of viticulture. Among them was the prominent Huguenot, Jean le Roux, who left his home in Normandy to settle in the heart of the Stellenbosch area in 1704. He planted 8,000 vines in total in the Stellenbosch district and continued the tradition of viticulture in Devon Valley.
Today, the House of J.C. Le Roux nestles on part of the historic farm and it bears testimony to the contribution made to Devon Valley by this illustrious family.
JC Le Roux P.O. Box 184, Stellenbosch 7599, South Africa
Tel: +27 (21) 865-2590
Fax: +27 (21) 865-2585