A wise old Greek winemaker once told me: “Your job is to take a photo of this vineyard (ecosystem) and put that in a bottle”
Composition: 100% Chenin Blanc
Wine of Origin: Western Cape
Vineyards: Stellenbosch, Swartland, Durbanville
Age of Vines: These Chenin Blanc vineyards range between 35 – 50 year old vines
The 2016 harvest was a challenging one, as heat waves and a very dry growing season from October through February meant that yields were smaller. The harvest also happened earlier for this reason. Thankfully these conditions also produced healthy, concentrated fruit. With smaller berries, low PH, good acidity and sugar levels, we were delighted with the quality of our 2016 harvest.
• Regular visits to vineyards and picked at optimum ripeness showcasing the terroir
• Picked in small crates and left overnight in cold room to bring temperature down to roughly 10 degrees Celsius
• Following day 100% whole bunch pressing – slow, soft press of whole bunches
• Juice straight to French oak barrels – all new to 3rd fill 500L – for natural fermentation
• Every vineyard is kept separate to showcase the different terroirs • Because nature has already done the work, the winemaking process is kept as natural as possible with minimal interference
• After natural fermentation began, wine is kept on the lees as long as possible because that’s where all the flavours are captured and where the magic happens
• I believe that if a vineyard is 35 years and older, it has its own story to tell, and my job is just to bottle that story
• Bâtonnage, or lees stirring, once a week
• Wine stays in barrel for 10 – 14 months
Even though this is the same cultivar, it’s a blend of terroirs. We are blessed in the Western Cape to have these diverse terroirs which can be used to blend a classic style wine that no one else in the world can replicate. My job is to find which old vines (terroirs) complement each other. Just before bottling I make up the blend to highlight the beauty of the specific vintage. In this case, 75% of the final blend is made up from Stellenbosch, 20% from the Swartland, and 5% from Durbanville.
Alc 12.5% | RS 1.5 | TA 6 | pH 3.3
This wine was released in 2019 and because of minimal interference and no additions barring some sulphites, this classic wine has the potential to age for 30+ years.
• The nose is very dusty, pithy and laden with liquid minerals. There are aromas of crushed granite, chalk dust, peach stone, green apples, with a sprinkling of dried green baking herbs and fynbos. The palate shows harmonious weight, flesh and sleek textural depth, but remains quite broody and tight in its youth. All very subtle and tightly packaged, there are nuances of white crunchy pears, dusty white citrus, wet river pebbles, tart white peaches, citrus oil and picante tangerine peel. Fine mid-palate tension, vibrant fresh acids and as expected from a warm, dry vintage, plenty of concentration and length, albeit a little closed up and tight right now. This looks like a worthy follow up to the impressive 2015.
• 94/100, Greg Sherwood MW