The vines are carefully trained by hand so that the leaves and bunches are fully exposed to the sun. This includes the removal of all leaves which may shade the grapes. A mild spring was followed by a warm, but not overly hot summer. The dominant force in the season, however, was the amazing Indian summer. From March onwards, temperatures were well above average and, combined with a long, lingering, dry autumn, the grapes were harvested fully ripe and in optimum condition. Low crops resulted in extra concentration.
After harvest the grapes were fermented in the traditional manner of Bordeaux Claret, with the juice being drained from the vat at regular intervals, aerated and then pumped back over the floating “cap” of skins to keep them moist. This procedure was carried out in small batches and after fermentation the grapes were allowed to macerate on the skins for a period, the duration of which was determined by taste and varied from batch to batch. After pressing, the resultant wine was matured for 18 months in oak barriques, 30% of which were new. During this time it had 5-6 rackings carried out to allow clarification with out fining.
When the weather warmed in the spring flowing harvest, it went through spontaneous, natural malo-lactic fermentation through the action of the vineyards indigenous bacteria. The cabernet sauvignon provides cassis-like characters, a big structure and a firm back-bone of tannins. Merlot gives hints of blackberries and ripe plums and fills out the mid-palate with succulent, sweet fruit. Both malbec and cabernet franc from our vineyard provide lifted, almost rose-petal-like aromas and the former adds length and chunky tannins, while elegance is a hallmark of the latter.
The wine provides a complex, but unified array of fruit aromas and flavours, backed up by cigar-box and vanillin hints from the oak. While the palate is very concentrated and full, the ripe tannins provide a velvety finish. With careful cellaring, the wine should develop in the bottle over the next 6-8 years and drink well for 10-15 years.