Stellenbosch Petite Sirah 2015-min

Varietal: 85% petite sirah, 8% syrah, 7% cabernet franc
Rootstock: 101-14
Fruit source: from our own Oude Nektar farm in Jonkershoek Valley
Yield: 8 tons/hectare
Total production: 4880 bottles
˚B at harvest:  24-25˚
Alcohol:  14.5%
Total Acid:  5.0
Residual sugar: 2.9
Total extract:  30.6 g/l
Age of vines: 9 years average at harvest
Trellis: 5-wire vsp
Irrigation: drip irrigation
Vineyard elevation: 200m

Details of vinification and oaking:

This is from a small, 0.5-hectare block at the far end of “Jan Lui’s Field” near the entrance to the farm. It is a small section of the field that is entirely decomposed granite. The grapes were harvested in mid-March into small lug boxes and then cooled overnight before de-stemming and crushing into small open fermentation tanks. The must was hand-punched down 2-3 times a day until dryness and then pressed and racked to small oak for 22 months maturation. A range of oak was used, 25% new, mainly French, but about 10% American oak. The wine was bottled with no fining and just a light polishing filtration.

Winemaker’s comment:

Petite Sirah is known for its intense colour and flavour as well as tannin. It seems to ripen well in Stellenbosch conditions with excellent natural acidity and relatively low pH. Because it has a lot of tannin, the wines need soft handling in the cellar and also fairly oxidative handling when young. The 2015 was a very dry year year, resulting in very rich, soft wines. Many winemakers consider it to be one of the best vintages of the past 20 years. Because of the low pH and firm tannin that is inherent in this variety, the wines should age well with careful cellaring. When young they can greatly benefit from a decanting.