Two of the vineyards used for our Semillon, planted in 1902 and 1942, are unirrigated bush vines, growing on little to no slope in the ancient Franschhoek Riverbed. These vineyards are well established on alluvial soils with a high loam content. The third vineyard, planted in 1936, is located further up the valley, on a 45-degree south-facing slope, on decomposed granite and quartz. Some of the vines within these vineyards have naturally mutated from Semillon to Semillon Gris, which has a slight red hue and higher skin-to-pulp ratio. The Semillon Gris vines naturally require more ripening time and are only harvested during a second picking. We opted to use a small portion of historic Muscat d’Alexandrie, planted in 1902, to enhance the wine’s aromatic character.
The 2019 Semillon harvest was one of our earliest pickings to date, commencing the first week of February. Our winter was wetter than the long-term average and was followed by dry conditions during flowering, resulting in early set and bud break. These conditions produced lower yields with smaller berries and clusters – ideal for crafting rich wines with good concentration and structure. The 2019 Semillon shows a very well-defined purity and crystalline fruit character.
Grapes were whole bunch pressed and spontaneously fermented in 225L classic barriques and concrete eggs. Maturation occurs at low temperatures, without sulphur additions, for 14 months: 70% in new French Oak barriques and 30% in concrete eggs. This oxidative approach at low temperatures enables us to enhance our old vine Semillon’s textural elements, creating exceptional structure in a wine that can certainly stand the test of time. The Muscat d’Alexandrie was skin-fermented and matured in clay amphora.