2020 | Stellenbosch
Through profound understanding of this vineyard, rather than manipulating the wine, we have been able to create a wine that reflects its site through freshness, elegance, finesse and purity.
Often shunned and disrespected by winemakers and consumers alike, there is, in certain worthy quarters, an ascending realisation of the tremendous potential of this grape, Chenin Blanc - South Africa’s most noble grape. As devotees of true character and finesse often swim upstream against the populous tide, a fresh generation of Chenin producers is bringing to the surface some of the most interesting, bright, mineral and idiosyncratic wines of the Cape. The Renaissance of Chenin Blanc is all about subtlety and finesse. It is driven by its citrus fruit spectrum and has a wonderful refreshing saltiness.
In the Vineyard
The fruit for this wine is grown in a single block of old, unirrigated bush vine Chenin on the foot slopes of the Helderberg Mountain, facing South East across False Bay. These vines grow high on a steep slope in slightly decomposed granite soils with patches of pure quartz near the top. These gnarled, old vines never yield a big crop (35hL/Ha or 5t/Ha), but because of this, the berries and bunches are small and the fruit is wonderfully concentrated. In 2019, Over the winter, rainfall figures came close to the long-term average for Stellenbosch, which came as a relief to many.
In the Cellar
Some of the grapes were whole bunch pressed, some skin macerated and the free-run juice was settled for two days before being poured into barrel. Alcoholic fermentation was carried out entirely in old oak barrel (using only natural ambient yeast) for 8 – 10 weeks under cool conditions (fermentation peaking at about 18°). Malolactic fermentation was inhibited by the cold. The wine was kept on its primary lees throughout maturation, racked out of barrel after about 9 months, assembled and then settled for a month.
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