As soon as I opened the box, I was transported on a sensory adventure. With a name like The Dome Ethel and a label that simply takes your breath away, this wine invites you to linger a bit longer, and to peek at what it holds. Lourensford Wine Estate added a new vintage to the Dome range, and Ethel awakens all your senses.
Opening a gift is an almost holy experience for me. The anticipation, the slow lift of the box lid, the sideways peek as you allow your imagination to conjure up images of what awaits in the dark corners of the box.
I audibly pulled in a deep breath when I lifted the lid on Lourensford’s The Dome Ethel, as it crossed my desk a few weeks ago. The most beautiful bottle lay cradled between the leaves of a fresh protea, and in that moment, I felt particularly proudly South African. You have my full attention; I am now engaged in this moment of beauty. Please proceed.
The Dome story begins with the 2015 vintage of the Dome Chardonnay, crafted to meet a bespoke order from the USA. Based on the overwhelmingly positive response to the wine, the Chardonnay was released in South Africa and production had more than doubled by the release of the 2017 vintage.
Lourensford expanded the Dome range with the launch of the Dome Pinot Noir in 2018 and like the Dome Chardonnay, this wine immediately hit the sweet spot in terms of the wine drinker’s palate thanks to its excellent balance of fruit and wood.
The Dome Ethel is named after Ethel Olympe Baxter, the daughter of JW Jagger, who owned Lourensford from 1913 – 1930. A philanthropist, pioneer, musician and nature lover – Ethel lived an energetic life enjoying horse riding and mountaineering, often climbing the Helderberg Dome (press release).
The Dome Ethel
Did you know that the Dome name refers to an actual mountain peak of the Helderberg range? The same peak features on the intricately designed label of The Dome Ethel as it stands guard over Lourensford’s vineyards.
Driven by Lourensford’s commitment and passion to create an accessible wine that appeals to the wider public whilst delighting with excellent quality and superior enjoyment, this red blend was an obvious addition to The Dome range.
Tasting notes: The deep, dark wine is complex with a refreshing acidity supported by soft, smooth tannins. Expect to be greeted by flavours of blackberry and mulberry on the nose, with tea leaf undertones and a lovely elegance on the palate
In the vineyard: 168 – 200m above sea level, and close to the Lourens River. Vines 14 – 15 years old. 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot
In the cellar: Matured for 19 months in French oak barrels, of which 27% was new. Can be enjoyed up to 2021.
Cellar door price: The Dome Ethel is available for R210 from the Lourensford tasting room which is open Monday to Sunday 9am until 5pm.
The Little Hedonist’s food pairing suggestion: I find Italian food to be quite sensory – it engages you in your entirety and begs for your full attention. I decided the bold and robust flavours of an Italian meal would be a perfect match to the alluringly vibrant personality of The Dome Ethel. The combination of my favourite comfort food with this Bordeaux-style blend resulted in an overload of happiness across all levels. The taste of the rich, fragrant and creamy lasagne, the smell of freshly baked garlic bread, the feel of the smooth, velvety mouthfuls of wine, the sound of the parmesan being grated, the touch of the beautifully embossed label. I am particularly proud of this marriage between wine and food.
Next time you want to add that extra special flair to your date night, Saturday family dinner, lunch with friends, quiet evening alone or celebration get-together, be sure to serve a bottle of The Dome Ethel. Indulge your guests (or just yourself!) in all that this red blend has to offer, from the tale the label tells, to the promise of excellence the name holds and the beauty of the wine inside.
Disclaimer: I was given this product(s) as part of a press drop in exchange for my honest and truthful opinion and review thereof. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are solely those of The Little Hedonist, given in good faith and in no way influenced by the company or its affiliates. All images, unless otherwise stated/credited, are also my own.