Thanks to a very dry summer, grapes were picked at optimum ripeness. “I’m really happy with the white varietals,” cellar master Frans Smit observes, “although the quantities are slightly less than last year, the flavours are ripe and balanced: there is great natural acidity.”
The picking of the red grapes posed something of a challenge. Normally grapes from Stellenbosch ripen later than those from Darling; this time the grapes from both areas ripened at the same time.
“A warm August and a dry spring sped up the ripening of Stellenbosch grapes,” says Smit. “We had to act fast to get everything into the cellar and it was a bit tricky making sure that there was enough space for all the grapes.” He is pleased with the grapes’ - “absolutely amazing dark red colour”.
“I believe this is a vintage that will be remembered for its quality,” he says.
Smit believes that future summers will be increasingly dry – like this one, and that harvests will come early. To ensure the cellar can cope with future vintages, it is expanding its fermentation capacity for red grapes; there will also be more holding capacity for during the harvest period.