This was one of our cooler summers, although by leaving the fruit on the vine until May we achieved excellent ripeness, clear varietal expression and good natural acidity. A modest crop level has contributed to good fruit concentration and body in the wine.
The vineyard and the vines
The vines are grown in stony, freely draining soil on north facing terraces. Being the most sheltered and warmest part of our vineyard they receive extra heat. Early in the summer we removed leaves from around the bunches in order to promote physiological ripening. Some of the blocks are almost 30 years old and are on their own roots.
The harvest and winemaking
We used the traditional methods that are employed to make Bordeaux’s celebrated red wine, Claret. After picking during May the grapes were fermented by their indigenous yeasts in stainless steel tanks. During this process the juice was regularly drained from the tanks sprayed back over the surface of the cap of floating grape skins to keep it moist and healthy. After this primary fermentation was finished the tanks were sealed and the grape remnants were allowed to steep, or macerate in the newly formed wine for several weeks to help improve the wine's body and structure. The exact period of this process was determined by daily tasting. The wine was then drained off and put on to French oak barriques. In the summer after harvest it underwent natural spontaneous malolactic or secondary fermentation. It was in these barriques for two years. The various batches were then blended according to taste before bottling. This wine is predominantly merlot and cabernet sauvignon with a small amount of malbec and cabernet franc.
On release it has a bright ruby hue with abundant aromas and flavours suggesting purple plums, cassis and wild blackberries. These initial impressions of ripe fruit are supported by an underlay of tobacco, vanilla pod, chocolate mocha and spice. The wine enters the palate subtly but expands into a robust, muscular, satisfyingly dry finish.
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