In the vineyard
The Helderberg is the jewel in the crown of the Stellenbosch wine region and is located a mere 15kms from the coastline of False Bay and the Indian Ocean. The greater region of Stellenbosch is home to over 160 wine producers, but the Helderberg is more limited to a lucky few. The highest point of the Helderberg is a little over 1,100m, with the highest vineyards planted at 620m. The lower slopes all possess different micro-climates of individual ‘terroirs‘ throughout the undulating plain.The soils possess Koffieklip (ferricrete or iron stone), kroonstad, estcourt and gravel hutton.
Located behind the Hottentots Holland Mountains in an area that sits at an average altitude of 300m above sea, the gently rolling hills of Elgin could trick some Europeans into thinking they were in Tuscany. This region, historically known more for the production of deciduous fruit orchards and in particular apples (it is the largest area of production for apples in sub-saharanAfrica), has become synonymous with the growing of cooler climate grape varieties due to its long growing season. The soils possess Table Mountain Sandstone, cartref (coarse sand), kroonstad, tukulu and quartzite.
In the winery
Working closely with our expert growers and qualified viticulturists, it’s our duty to process these carefully grown and hand sorted grapes (at the vine), with great care and minimal intervention. It is no secret that healthy grapes make good and healthy wine, but a great wine, is one that is allowed to express the magical complexities of its own vineyard site.
We whole bunch press our white grapes and de-stem all our red grapes, preferring not to use any stems in the fermentation of our Syrah, regarding stems as an inedible fruit that can only reduce colour and impart green, herbaceous (and potentially astringent) flavours in the resulting wine. Indigenous yeast strains are respected and natural acids observed. A small addition of sulphur at crush and at bottling is our norm in order to prevent bacterial spoilage and allow the wine to age gracefully in bottle.
Fermentation takes place in both open and closed stainless steel vats. Pump-overs take place 3 times a day during alcoholic fermentation and the occasional “délestage” to blow off any reductive flavours, aerate the ‘must’ and encourage yeast stimulation. Once alcoholic fermentation has finished, malolactic fermentation is encouraged naturally. The wine is transferred to barrel for maturation from between 16-24 months depending on the quality level of the wine.
Following whole bunch pressing, alcoholic fermentation takes place 'naturally' in small French oak barrels. The wines are left and stirred on their lees during barrel maturation, and racked at bottling. When the alcoholic fermentation has finished malolactic fermentation (MLF) is encouraged depending on the vintage and natural acid levels. Wines remain in barrel for ageing between 7-9 months. A selection of mainly older oak and some new barrels are enjoyed.