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THE GROWING SEASON
Harvest was a touch earlier than usual, beginning in the first week of February. Budding was even and complete, helped by a fortuitous two days over 30 Centigrade in mid-September, but it was unusually late in the Sauvignon blanc. The weather at flowering was benign, if a little wet. Ripening was a touch uneven – more so in the various Sauvignon blanc vineyards than for Pinotage. Overall the year was wetter than the previous few years (with a total annual rainfall of 849mm for calendar year 2019). A particularly wetter than average October and January created downy mildew pressures, which became odium and later botrytis pressures, not helped by high humidity and early morning dew. These were however satisfactorily held at bay with organic treatments. The average maximum temperatures for Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar were exactly equal to our long-term average of 25 Centigrade (the long-term equivalent for Burgundy for Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep is 24.8 Centigrade), so on our measure, the vintage was cooler than 2019 and equal to the celebrated 2009 and 2015 vintages. Pinotage yields were significantly down on the already low yields of 2019. Sauvignon blanc yields were very low in our old vineyards and normal in the younger vineyards. A standout feature of the 2020 vintage was phenolic ripeness at lower alcohol than usual, combined with low sugar to alcohol conversions for the fermentations. A highly positive situation. So despite lower alcohol, the Pinotage is deep, and intense, with a beautiful fine-grained structure. The Sauvignon blanc has a marked mineral purity and saline quality. A year with weather challenges that did not prevent our team from achieving an exciting outcome.
ABOUT THIS WINE
Made in a way ensuring the personality of site and soil is not over-ridden by the forceful character of the variety, this wine exhibits the typical Southern Right balance of “Old World” minerality and length with hints of “New World” palate coverage and body. The 2020 is a wine that favors origin expressive individuality, minerality and palate complexity ahead of pure, pungent varietal aroma. A significant percentage of fruit from iron and clay-rich soil has added a mid-palate structural component and additional overall complexity to this wine. The Sandstone soils have contributed their typical bright, tensile character and a marked minerality.
92 Tim Atkin MW, South African Report 2021
A small portion of this impressive, well-priced Sauvignon Blanc sees oak, but it’s focused on other flavors. Savory, sappy and salty, with elderflower and grapefruit notes, lovely precision and a textured, bone-dry finish.
90 Neal Martin, Vinous, April 2021
The 2020 Sauvignon Blanc has a refined bouquet of lime and orange pith, Granny Smith apples and crushed stone. The well-balanced palate is fresh and saline on the entry, with delicate touches of lemon and lime toward the finish. Lovely.
90 Alison Napjus, Wine Spectator, May 2021
A stony white, sleek and well-knit, with hints of fresh tarragon and grapefruit zest accenting the delicate melon, fig and peach fruit.