Southend is a single vineyard wine that lies in the shadow of the Babylonstoring Mountains in the Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley and is owned and farmed by our neighbours, the Pringle family. It is a notably cooler slope, a stone’s throw across the river from us, with less sunshine and consequently slower ripening. It produces wines with sparkling clarity, high-toned fruit flavours, compact structure, and vibrant acidity. We preserve these features by fermenting in larger format casks that often ferment slowly in to the winter. This parcel takes a steely and light-footed point of difference from the other Chardonnay vineyards of our appellation.
Condensed flavours elevated by this vineyard’s rapier-like freshness. Ripe limes and waxy honeycomb are illuminated by sharp ginger and lemon zest, with an airy scent of jasmine. Succulent citrus fruit in the mouth, ladled with lees texture and buttery brioche, narrowing to a racy, lively finish.
Alcohol by volume 13.54% Total Acidity 6.3g/l pH 3.34 Residual sugar 2.9g/l
The vineyard lies on the lower slopes at an altitu de of 210m, in the porphyritic Granite soils of the Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley . This appellation ranges from 4 to 8 km in proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. The climate is cool and temperate, where parallel mountain ranges channel the southerly oceangoing winds through the appellation during the summer. These southerly winds in turn create regular sea mists and over cast conditions, moderating the temperatures in the valley. The annual rainfall is 910mm, with 50% falling in the winter months (May – August).
APPELLATION: Wine of Origin UPPER HEMEL-EN-AARDE VALLEY
SOIL: Well-drained decomposed granite with heavier, c lay-rich subsoil.
ASPECT: South West facing. Slope of 16%.
TRELISSING: 7-wire Vertical Shoot Positioning (VSP) with movable wires
AGE OF VINES: 13 years
VINES PER Ha: 3200
AVERAGE YIELD: 6.8 tons/Ha (44 hl/Ha) 2 0 1 7
This is the 3r d straight vintage that was warmer and earlier than the average. The preceding winter had decent rain, though was quite poor in terms of accumulated cold temperatures. Fortunately, there were no major abnormalities with bu dding in the last week of August, a week later than ’15 and ’16. A sustained, dry and warm summer kept the vine canopies relatively modest in growth vigour, and the crop was lower than average. A significant event was the 50mm of rain received on the 27th January as the first parcels of Pinot Noir were being harvested. This resulted in a delay in ripening for everything else on the vine, with moderate temperatures allowing grape flavours to develop without sugar accumulation. The grapes were harvested between the 24th of February and the 3rd of March.
The grapes are handpicked and packed in to large-surface area crates to limit crushing of the bunches. The day’s harvest is cooled down overnight to 8ºC in the winery’s refrigerated cold room. The grape bunches are hand-sorted on a conveyor and fed directly by chute to the press. The juice is settled by temperature only (no enzyme) and racked in to barrel (48%) and stainless steel (52%) for fermentation by indigenous yeasts.
48% of this wine is matured for 10 months in 228L and 500L barrels produced in Burgundy. Tighter grained oak is preferred for subtle flavour, with longer seasoning and slower, lower temperature toasting. New oak comprises 7% of the final blend. 52% of the wine was fermented and left on its lees in stainless steel tank. The wine was blended and kept for further élevage of 5 months in stainless steel. No fining and only a light filtration before bottling.
BEST DRINKING: Now – 8 years