False Bay Pinotage 2007 / 2008

Our aim is to produce a smoky, plum and black fruit character that is a far cry from the rubbery, jammy and over-cropped examples responsible for the sometimes negative image of the grape.

variety : Pinotage [ 100% Pinotage ]
winery : Waterkloof
winemaker : Werner Engelbrecht
wine of origin : Western Cape
analysis : alc : 14.5 % vol  rs : 2.0 g/l  pH : 3.55  ta : 5.39 g/l  
type : Red  style : Dry  taste : Fruity   wooded
pack : Bottle  closure : Screwcap  

in the vineyard : Extensive experience in working with the Pinotage grape, provided us with the knowledge to bring out the best in the varietal, and that is to work with low yielding, old untrellised bush vines. This approach seems to change a grape that is more beast than beauty into something special. We know that Pinotage will never be a sleek suave international red, but it allows us to get that very authentic flavour that smacks of the earth, from grapes that will deliver this taste in the way that no other will.

Those stunted plantings that look like twisted bonsai proved to have the stuff of greatness. Fruit so dense that it needs the tough love of open-fermenters to dispel the volatile esters. Since there is no old-world style to emulate, our journey with Pinotage has been very much an adventure.

Although we are aware of the fact that Pinotage seems to do equally well in cooler areas, our own experience has been more positive, working in the warmer areas of the Coastal Region. We have identified a few 30-year and older blocks of unirrigated bush vine in the Paarl region for our False Bay Pinotage. What attracted us to these vineyards were the very small berries with a great degree of concentration. 

After several dry winters we had very good rains and cold weather throughout the winter period. The spring and early summer were the coolest in years, which is very positive for flavour development on the white wines, and colour and structure on the reds. Despite a heat wave in late January, vineyards looked good and ripened properly and slowly.

about the harvest: The grapes were harvested at 25° Balling.

in the cellar : As with all the reds in the False Bay Range, native wild yeasts were allowed to start the fermentation process. Only French oak was used in the barrel-aged portion, as we believe that the grape provides sufficient sweetness.

After de-stemming the berries were fermented in stainless steel tanks. Fermentation was allowed to start without the addition of cultured yeast. With the onset of fermentation, pump-overs took place three times per day. Towards the end of fermentation, the number of pump-overs was reduced to ensure that no harsh, dry tannins were extracted. Fermentation took place at temperatures of 26° to 30° Celsius at the height of fermentation. The wine was drained from the skins after fermentation was complete. No press juice was added to the wine.

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