Note from Craig: “We change the label every year to best suit the feeling I think the wine is giving. The photo on the label was taken by Craig in Tokyo, Japan in 2015 of some graffiti on a wall at about 3am. The image was always in Craigs “future label” folder, and we think it resonates perfectly with the Cortez wine this year. Mysterious but beautiful at the same time. There is no Japanese meaning for the graffiti, so people can feel free to find their own meaning for it.“
Swartland, South Africa 2021 Chenin Blanc White Craig Hawkins Planted in 1972, dryland bush vine (un-trellised), farmed organically. The vineyard has been farmed organically since 2001 and every year, good or bad, provides exceptional quality. Good farming, along with the quartz/silica soils, produces a wine with incredible tension – rich yet fresh.
Hand harvested and whole bunch pressed. Fermented/aged in 4 x 500L old French foudre and a single 1500L stainless steel tank for 6 months then blended together and placed back into wood and stainless steel. No yeast (or other) inoculation or additives apart from a small amount of SO2 shortly before bottling. 100% malolactic fermentation. A very light clarifying filtration was done using coarse cellulose sheets, no fining.
RESIDIUAL SUGAR: 1.7 g/L
ALCOHOL: 11.89 % vol
TOTAL ACID: 6.3 g/L
About 2021 vintage
The 2021 vintage was again a good one with a very long “cool” summer by our standards, with increased yields (slightly) and the reds in particular are tasting amazing at the moment, very juicy and with nice weight and acidity. It was interesting to see the pH being a bit lower than last year on the reds, i think this is due to the vines being a bit less stressed, but who knows.
The whites are as salty and mineral as ever and they are starting to really find their rhythm now in our cellar.
We have improved from last year on the efficiency front (new equipment that helps buy us more time at the end of the day) and this has led to us being even more hygienic in the cellar and thus resulting VA’s being as low as ever and the actual grape coming to the fore.
Sweet Cheeks is back this year after taking a sabbatical last year, but we had a better spray program last season so it helped with our vineyards on the Paardeberg.
The Mourvedre this year is looking incredible, amazing fruit, balance and structure. Queen of Spades and Mangaliza are also up slightly in volume, as is the Lords of Dogtown.
The Pet Nats were bottled in a new darker glassed and better quality French champagne bottle. They are looking awesome, and the balance between acid and sugar on both of them is superb, i am very happy. We will also be using a new degorging machine which will hopefully take quality a step higher.
We are also making small changes to our labels that also will improve the quality, at least in my eyes.
A note on the Ninjas and wines moving forward –
1 – We have stopped using Consol glass (our SA glass supplier) for all of our bottles now (still and sparkling) , the Ninjas are now bottled in an imported French Champagne bottle which is much better in quality, it is noticeably better. The other positive is the labels go on much better on this bottle as it is slightly fatter on the label area. We just can’t trust the quality of South African products anymore.
2 – We are now using a new imported French machine for degorging the wine, and it is 100x better, so quality is only going to improve and be on par with our other bottles.
3 – I am now using a new paper for printing my all labels, which is much thicker and stronger and feels better.
4 – All the back labels will have barcodes incorporated into them now.