Saturday, June 4, 2011

Cheers to a Short and Quick 2011 Harvest.

As the cellar team continues to work hard to put the 2011 White Wine in bottle I take time to reflect at this, my sixth harvest at Nederburg, and my ninth career harvest, having spent three harvests at Fleur du Cap as assistant winemaker.

Just like every year for the past six years at Nederburg I could never know how the harvest would turn out. I have enough experience to be comfortable with any eventuality but one thing that keeps me on my toes is wanting each harvest to be better than the previous ones. This drives me crazy! I want to always make the best possible wine in any year and in my books every new vintage has gotta be better than anything I made before. Now you might know this is easier said than done because a harvest is more influenced by factors beyond my control really.

A look at the harvesting period for the past four vintages shows the following:

2011: 18 Jan to 31 March.
2010: 20 Jan to 7 April.
2009: 26 Jan to 3 April.
2008: 23 Jan to 9 April.

Not much to choose from between the dates but there were marked differences between those years in terms of winter cold units, rainfall, temperature, and the severity of heat waves, wind, etc.

2011 harvest was short and quick. A day or two in harvesting terms is a lot. A day may well be what a separates an award winning wine from the rest! There were higher than average temperatures during February and March, which accelerated ripening significantly, with the harvest shortened by some days.

My team had to put in long hours (nothing new) and keep on-top of their game to make sure every grape load is processed with the same passion and focus that makes us a WINNING TEAM!

I am very excited with the overall quality of this year’s wines. What’s even more exciting is the quality of everyday-drinking wines like Nederburg Lyric and Nederburg Stein, which continues to improve. The balance of fruit and taste of these wines make them SUPER QUAFFERS!

On the other spectrum of more serious wines Chenin blanc received the most attention in terms of innovations in the cellar. I tried a few tricks with Chenin inspired by the Swartland Revolution and I am happy to share with you that some this wine will end up in bottle this year …WATCH THE SPACE!

I know it’s not easy but if I have to choose one wine, one tank, one cultivar that blew me away this vintage I will have to say “a particular tank of Sauvignon blanc, made with grapes from Ceres!!” I have not tasted anything this good in my time here at Nederburg. I wont reveal as yet which wine this tank will end up but I’ll be sure to tell when it happens.

I finish off by saying THANK YOU to everyone who contributed tirelessly to making this a memorable vintage for me and Team Nederburg and in particular THANK YOU Razvan Macici, Henk Van Graan, Hannes Van Rensburg, Danie Morkel, Wilhelm Pienaar and Red Wine Team (for ‘stealing’ our pipes, and pumps, hehehe!) and Kobus Gerber. Your support is everything to WINNING.

Cheers and Happy Wine Drinking!!!