A mild spring was followed by a sunny summer and a lingering dry autumn. It was a perfect growing season with enough warmth to produce optimal ripeness but it was not too hot to destroy varietal purity or freshness.
THE VINEYARD AND THE VINES
The vines are grown in stony, freely draining soil on north facing terraces. Being in 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 and 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, during which time it underwent several rackings, enabling it to clarify naturally. 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.
On release, the wine is deep ruby colour. Its abundant aromas and flavours suggest wild blackberries, purple plums, cassis, and chocolate mocha, with underlying hints of vanilla pod, spice and roasted nuts. The palate is rich but muscular with a backbone of ripe tannins that provide a savoury aftertaste of black olive tapenade.