There is something cooking in the beautiful town of Franschhoek and for a change it isn’t food from one of those fabulous restaurants. No—at the end of the Main Road behind the Monument is to be found the fruit orchards of the Lermer family on the farm La Verdure. They used always to export their fruit to the EU but regulations got so tough re the use of insecticides that they were forced to use that the family decided to call the whole thing off. The fruit from here is all produced using biodynamical methods and the control of pests is done with predators like chameleons and frogs that just love bugs and other natural procedures. The result is fruit of a super quality which young Jonathan Lermer is using to make great spirits. His first effort was fabulous Slivovic called Plodka which he has rebranded. He has also made companions to this charmer including a prize winning Absinthe. All the fruit, including the wormwood blossoms used in the Absinthe come from the farm itself. Grapes from the farm are made into a delicious Shiraz called Chloe which forms the base of Gin and the Absinthe. But wait—there is more. Not to be left on the shelf, Jonathan and his wife Anné have made a superb Rum, using the traditional method. The Gin, Rum and Slivovic are R280 a 375ml bottle, and the Absinthe is R350 for a 750ml bottle. The stills are called Dionysus—a gorgeous Portuguese alembic copper 300 litre and Aphrodite, a more lady like Kentucky style 180 litres.
SLIVOVIC The plums used to make this are processed very much as one makes wine. The resulting ”plum wine” is then distilled and put into barrels to age. The predominant flavour is plums of course—best served in winter at room temperature and in summer in a chilled glass. R280/ 375mls
The farm’s Chloe Shiraz is distilled through a variety of botanicals suspended in the hood of the still. The main aroma is of liquorice from the SA wormwood. Notes of anise, fennel, cardamom and nutmeg add to the sensational flavours. Best served very cold as an aperitif. A Gold Medal winner at the SA Women’s Wine and Spirit Competition. R350 per 750ml bottle.
ANNÉ- ANNÉ GIN
Also distilled from the farm’s Shiraz, this cracker is a well-balanced medley of citrus fruits and spices some of which have been charred to give the spirit extra character with softening notes of honey and caramel. The aromas are enough to make you want to down more than a few. R280/ 375 mls
Contact Jonathan Lermer 084 929 6212 or go onto their website www.thefranschhoekdistillery.co.za