Further to the news about the ownership changes at Lammershoek – and the worryingly prompt exit of the winemaking team – I can report that there is a new winemaker in place for the harvest due to start soon (though perhaps not as soon as if famously early-picking Craig Hawkins were still in charge of the cellar!). The new guy is Schalk Opperman, who had been at Holden Manz (and before then at Rust-en-Vrede).
One must feel a bit sorry for Holden Manz – Schalk had been there for just three years, and seemed to be pulling things right, eventually, after the rather dreadful wines of Klein Genot, as the property was called before the new owners took over in 2010. I didn’t know much about his work there, but he seemed to be moving in the direction of light-footed and fresh wines – so perhaps the changes at Lammershoek might not be as drastic as some have been fearing.
Schalk’s decamping follows – at a distance – that of Karl Lambour who was, for a very brief while, Director of Wine, Sales and Marketing, before departing, as Karl has so often been known to do (as far as I know he’s stuck it out at Grande Provence for a few years now). Not nice to lose an important part of the team once again, especially so close to harvest. In May last year I wrote enthusiastically about Schalk’s maiden Visionaire 2012 and suggested we could “look forward to a bright future”. Oh dear. Well let’s hope that Molden Manz’s future remains bright – I’m trying to find out what their winemaker plans are.
And brightness for Lammershoek too, I trust. I’ve just finished a bottle of the Lam Syrah 2012 – it was always a fine bargain and it’s tasting even better now. We need more such stuff please, Schalk.