The fruit sourced for this wine comes from the Estate’s Wallcliffe vineyard, planted between 1970 and 1972. The vineyard is located 8km from the ocean, with an elevation of 80 metres and a south-west aspect. The vines grow on gravel laterite soils derived from decomposed ironstone over gravelly, clay sub-soils. Vine spacing is 2200 vines/hectare with all vines vertically trained and cane pruned so that 30 to 40 buds are left on each vine. Judicious shoot and leaf removal is carried out in late summer to open up the canopy. Trickle irrigation is applied sparingly, combined with springtime composting to maintain vine health and ensure that physiologically ripe grapes are harvested.
Vine growth started early after good rainfall in July and August, followed by a dry and mild period from September through to March. These ideal conditions saw rapid and healthy growth, with full vine development completed a month early, by late November. With soil moisture depleted by December, some supplementary irrigation was required. Vines revelled in these conditions and another fine vintage seemed assured, providing judicious shoot removal and positioning was carried out. The dry conditions and the unusually mild January to March period ensured that the grapes ripened slowly and evenly, obtaining good balance between grape flavour, sugar and tannins.
Three batches of Cabernet were harvested from 27 March to 3 April. Average yield from our old vines was a moderate 6.5 tonne per hectare. Fruit arriving at the winery was de-stemmed and lightly crushed so that high proportions of whole berries were conveyed to the fermenter. The must was left to macerate for a day before seeding with a neutral strain of yeast. Cabernet then stays on skins for up to 28 days. Once dry, the wine was inoculated for malolactic fermentation. It was racked twice before going into French oak barrels, 75% of which were new. The wine underwent final assemblage in spring 2001. The early blending allows time for a harmonious marriage of the components to occur. It was blended and bottled in December 2002.
15.0% alcohol, 6.6 g/L total acidity, pH 3.47