Doolhof Wine Estate nestled under the Bainskloof Pass, Wellington had an excellent harvest against the background of an extremely hot and dry summer and all the accompanying ramifications for the wine maker.
The harvest began on 2nd February, traditionally with Sauvignon Blanc grapes. The target was achieved, as all grapes were in the Winery by 10.00 am. We produced five tanks of Sauvignon Blanc.
The Chardonnay was harvested at optimum sugar levels and we experimented with two different yeasts in the two tanks. Like the Sauvignon Blanc, the Chardonnay was made in a reductive style to maximise both flavour development and aromas.
Our Chenin Blanc, on 35 year old bush vines, was left longer for slow ripening and greater concentration. We have great expectations this year.
Finally, for the whites, we picked the Semillon quite late, being careful to avoid rot with their thin skins. As last year, we fermented part of the crop in oak barrels.
The weather affected the reds to a different degree. Malbec yield was reduced due to the heat and we noticed some uneven ripening in several varietals – Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot.
Hence, we need to call into play the partnership between the viticulturist (Hendrik Laubscher) and the winemaker and his staff. By shared decision-making on harvest dates, and sorting and selection in the cellar, we feel we have obtained maximum colour and interesting possibilities from the reds.
This year our Cape Robin Rosé will be 100% Shiraz. We set out to make a fresh, crisp dry rosé with low alcohol and red fruits and flavours on the nose. We feel we have achieved our targets.
As we said, an excellent harvest outcome but a lot of hard work and experience required.
A challenging vintage but we are excited about the wines, albeit at this early stage.
The harvest finished on 15th March with the last Petit Verdot grapes being picked.
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