Field Blend 2016-min

Varietal:34% Chenin Blanc, 27% Roussanne, 24% Verdelho, 15% Viognier
Rootstock: Richter 110
Fruit source: from our own Oude Nektar farm in Jonkershoek Valley
Yield: 7.0 tons/hectare
Total production: 4670 bottles
˚B at harvest: 21.5-22˚
Alcohol: 13. 5%
Total Acid: 6.1
Residual sugar: 2.9g/l
Age of vines: 9 years
Trellis: 5-wire vsp
Irrigation: drip irrigation
Vineyard elevation: 200m

Details of vinification and oaking:

We have one block on the farm — the gate — that is quite different than bottom of a steep slope as well as being very close to the river, it has a number of different geological influences — there are 11 different soil types in this 2-hectare block! Faced with this difficult situation, we tried to turn it into a positive and decided to plant a mix of varieties that could be blended together to make up one wine. The wine was 85% barrel fermented in neutral oak – just a small percent (±5%) of new oak was used — and blended with 10% fermented in concrete “eggs” and the balance fermented in stainless. About half the wine was co-fermented — that is, the 4 varieties were blended at juice stage and fermented together.

Winemaker’s comment:

This was a challenging vintage with one of the driest seasons on record. It necessitated a strict selection in the vineyard. We also did several passes in picking to try to pick at the right flavour development, because different parts of the vineyard matured quite differently. For the first time in making this wine, we decided to pick and press each variety separately (at their ideal ripeness) and then blend the juice before fermentation (for about half). Stylistically, I have always been looking for a balance between the richness and perfume of the roussanne and viognier and the fruit and freshness of the chenin and verdelho. 2016 has a very tight structure with a good acidity. This wine should round out nicely over the next 2-3 years.

We recently came across some interesting historical research on the Jonkershoek Valley and on this site in particular. The historical name is Jan Lui’s Field, named for an early owner of the farm. This site was originally used by the khoi-san for grazing livestock and it is believed to be one of the oldest cultivated fields in Stellenbosch. Grapes have been grown on this site for more than 350 years.