How does 2015 compare to previous vintages, and what were the conditions of the year?
CF: Biggest single defining point was that it was so much earlier than in the past, and more compact. So not only did we start 3 weeks earlier, we also finished 3 weeks earlier. The conditions leading up to harvest included a wet, cold winter and a very dry growing season.
What has the impact of the early harvest this year had on the quality of the grapes?
CF: We saw healthy concentrated fruit at lower Balling levels. The skins of the white cultivars were more phenolic –leading to shorter skin maceration on the varieties with which we use this technique. For the reds we saw grippy tannins and beautiful concentrated fruit. pH`s were lower and natural acidity higher. Makes me very excited for the longevity of the wines we will produce of this vintage.
What were the complications with this year’s harvest?
CF: The only complications were logistical I suppose. We saw load shedding –but in our case it only meant a small inconvenience as we do have a generator. Otherwise making decisions on what to harvest and what to stand over to the next day –especially in the biggest, most packed, week of harvest.
What varieties or locations have particular stood out as the best quality for 2015?
CF: Sauvignon Blanc from Walker Bay with bright acidity and flavors tending to tropical. A fantastic, healthy year for Chenin bBanc in Wellington and in Walker Bay too. Pinotage will be age-worthy and well worth looking out for. Big tannins on the premium vineyards. Cabernet Sauvignon from Wellington very concentrated and distinct.
Did any varieties or locations struggle?
CF: Truth be told – beautiful year all around.