This wine from young bush vines was produced in a natural, hands-off style and fermented in old French oak using 80% whole bunches. The bouquet reveals a complex perfume of violets, marzipan and red cherry with a sleek medium bodied palate, brimming with bramble berry, “fraises des bois” and Chinese Spice on the finish. A classic expression of this variety.
This is an exceptional vintage and one to watch. The harvest was slightly higher (approx. 1.4% larger) than 2016 following a dry season.
Cooler nights throughout the growing season and the absence of significant heat waves during harvest time buffered the effect of the drought to some extent and offered a larger crop in Paarl and the Swartland. The relief of rain in these regions and warmer weather conditions meant that us winemakers had to keep a closer eye on the vineyards to manage the water usage very closely. On the plus side, the dry conditions resulted in very healthy vineyards and smaller berries with good colour and flavour concentration.
The post-harvest period (April and May) was very hot and dry, which led to early leaf-fall in some areas, and the accumulation of reserves was moderate. Winter arrived late in most regions, but was cold enough to break dormancy. Although rainfall was higher than the previous season in some areas and could carry the harvest through, it was still below average and the dam and soil water levels remained under pressure. Producers therefore had to irrigate meticulously. Spring arrived on time and warm weather in August contributed to somewhat earlier than normal, but even bud burst. However, cooler weather in September resulted in some instances of later and more uneven bud burst. October and November was characterised by cool nights and warm days. This was beneficial to flowering and berry set.
The generally dry season resulted in very healthy vineyards with limited occurrence of pests, diseases or rot. The dry, warm weather resulted in healthy grapes and small berries with good intensity. Greater variation between night and day temperatures during the ripening stage gave the colour and flavour formation a further boost.
WINEMAKING & VINIFICATION
I specifically wanted to make a lighter style Grenache, which takes some doing in our climate. These grapes are from a young vineyard in Wellington. It’s a hot growing area which means the varietal ripens quicker and needs to be picked earlier to give a lighter wine with cherry berry fruit flavours.
After picking the grapes they were put into a cold container below 10 degrees. The following day we began 80% whole bunch natural fermentation. This was used for about two weeks with soft pump overs to ensure we didn’t over extract and kept the classic flavour. After pressing it went into old oak French barrels. I love the lighter style of Grenache and believe it to be the perfect summer drinking red.