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Barrel Talk with Dustin Osborne

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Harvest 2014 kicked off with a bang on the 3rd of February with Chardonnay arriving at the cellar at 7.15am. Quality was perfect as usual, and we were afforded a nice day’s harvest with cool temperatures prevailing the whole day. Interestingly enough harvest only started 3 days later than last year, and slightly earlier than what was expected if one takes the growing season as a whole into consideration. Nevertheless we were thrilled with the quality of the first grapes that came in. As per usual our Chardonnay will have quite a few different components in its final blend to build up the tension in the versatile wine. This year we welcome a batch of spontaneous fermented juice in new oak to the blend, this will add even more complexity and mouth feel to our elegant Chardonnay.

Next up in the cellar was our early batch of Sauvignon Blanc which is used as a greener component to the final blend, this came rolling into the cellar on the 8th of February, 4 days later than 2013. Unlike last year we were afforded the opportunity to harvest the Sauvignon Blanc over 3 different days and almost a week and half apart. Last year we took the whole crop in one day, due to heavy rain warnings (that did eventuate 85mm on one day). The opportunity to pick at different levels of ripeness will afford us the opportunity to have a more layered Sauvignon Blanc, in terms of more fruit spectrum and more complexity in mouth feel and structure. Once again spontaneous (wild) fermentation is being employed on the riper tank in the cellar, with stellar results I might add!

The Pinotage crop is also all in the cellar, this being for the Lady M, Pinotage Rose, Pinotage and renowned Pinotage Blanc. The fruit quality is great and is even better once it goes through our manual sorting and automatic sorting machines in the cellar. The Mistral sorting system has done very good work this year making sure that no MOG (matter other than grape) is getting through into our tanks. The wines are showing beautiful fruit aromatics in this early stage and we are happy with the extraction acquired on the wines. The normal Pinotage will have 3 components this year, as our three tanks of Pinotage (harvested on three separate days, from the bottom, middle and top of the block) all received different treatments, including cold soaking, direct inoculation, and different yeast strains. Once again this variation lends a hand to more complex wines. I cannot wait to bottle the 2014 vintage in the future!

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