Project Z Chenin Blanc Skin Contact 2018
Here, the skins of the Chenin Blanc grapes were not removed before fermentation and the interaction between skin and fermenting juice elevated the profile of this white wine into a new stratosphere The grapes were sourced from a vineyard over four decades old in the Firgrove region of Stellenbosch Growing on clay and decomposed granite and subjected to the maritime airflow off the Atlantic Ocean at False Bay, the vineyard was selected for its ability to grow grapes offering a superior expression of the site’s unique geography. Fermentation in Italian clay amphorae with a 10 day period of skin contact with a further 12 months of maturation in amphorae captures the essence of this vineyard, with the skin contact providing linearity, razor sharp focus and an intriguing maritime salinity.
Clay and decomposed granite vineyard, subject to martime airflow off the Atlantic Ocean
2018 is the 3rd dry season that we have experienced in a row and has seen the region experience severe drought conditions. That said, for the past number of years, we have been approaching the management of our vineyards from a point of view of sustainability, with special attention to minimizing our use of supplementary irrigation, and we reaped the benefit of that in this season. Winter arrived late and with an early and warm Spring we experienced rather uneven bud-break. This paired with a few small rain events during flowering, especially on our Cabernet vineyards, led to one of the most challenging growing seasons in recent memory! This put a lot of pressure on our team to carefully manage the vineyards to mitigate the uneven shoot-growth and uneven ripening to ensure grapes that were as close to optimal ripeness as possible for the team in the cellar. Owing to the lack of supplemental irrigation some of the whites were harvested a little earlier than normal to ensure we maintained good natural acidities and we were particularly happy with the quality of our dry-grown Chenin Blanc blocks. Later in the harvest things slowed down quite a bit and we think this was due to a combination of higher than normal vine stress earlier in the season combined with particularly low night time temperature that began toward the end of February. This allowed a number of the reds to ripen slowly and alleviate some of the “unevenness” seen in the various vineyards. While 2018 might not be the most classic red vintage I think it will result in lovely rich, plush reds that will be immensely enjoyable to drink!! (Especially while we wait for the tight and fresh 2017’s to come around!!) It will definitely be remembered as one of the more challenging ones for the team but, all in all we very happy with the end result for the 2018 harvest and hope you will enjoy the wines that are released in due course.
Fermented in Italian clay amphorae with a 10 day period of skin contact, then a further 12 month of maturation in amphorae.
- Grilled and Roasted White Meats
- Salads and Picnics
- Mild Creamy Cheeses