With harvest wrapping up towards the end of March, and all the juice happily in the cellar, one could be forgiven for thinking, ‘jobs right – cool bananas’! This would, however, be a mistake. In April, the real work and cellar magic begins. Behind the closed doors of the Cellar, the cold soaks, pushdowns, and pump-overs continue to fill the days – and often the nights.
Chatting to Nic and Christo about the season and the harvest, they tell me we had a full spectrum of cool and wet spring, followed by a hot and arid summer. The heat came in several spikes, which in our case were comfortably absorbed by the vineyards – mostly due to our viticulture being absolutely on point. In terms of fruit quality, Nic believes: “it was the best vintage to date on Rondekop.”. Happy days! We will follow up with a vintage prediction later in the year, once the wines have settled in barrel and completed their malolactic fermentations.
For the 2022 harvest, Nic is allowing most of his ferments to be spontaneous, using the natural yeasts found on the grapes to take the wines through fermentation rather than inoculating them with commercial strains. Wild ferments are another exciting step for us. They demonstrate the natural health of our vineyards, and Nic’s confidence to let nature take its course.
Later in May, we are releasing our Grenache Noir 2020. Our Grenache has attained quite a cult following over the years, and I am happy to report that this vintage is our best one yet. It truly is a gem, produced only in small batches – to get your hands on some before it’s all gone!
This year’s edition of our Generation 3 project is well underway in the vineyards. We have prepared the soil for planting, delineating the blocks to maximise soil homogeneity – which will lead to improved berry quality. It will be great to have the new vines planted.
After Easter, Thys headed off to Europe to visit our agents and other customers. He has not had the opportunity to travel since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, when he was nearly stranded in Germany. We are happy that we can begin the reconnection that is so important in building the positive momentum of South African wines around the world. The Cape has an exciting wine story, however it relies on our team travelling and creating opportunities to taste and hear about it.
Come June, Nic, Vanessa and myself will be in London for a week. Under the theme of Rondekop Translated, we will be hosting an array of functions at 67 Pall Mall to introduce some of Nic’s first wines. It will undoubtedly be an exciting time and will further our reconnection with the world of wine.
In The Tasting Room, we are enjoying a steady stream of visitors. We always encourage guests to reserve their tables, as we keep things small and regretfully have to turn people away when fully booked. I am always happy to hear the positive feedback we receive, both for our wines and the excellent tastings conducted by Stefan and his team. From a guest (translated from Afrikaans):
Wow and thank you very much!
Wow! I am speechless. What an amazing tasting yesterday with some friends. The Library tasting is exceptional. That 2009 Cab blew me away. The Cab Franc was even better that I remembered it. And, that interesting 2012 Syrah.
George, who served us was a rock star. Fantastic service, great knowledge and just a great guy. And naturally, the Zalto glasses help – nice touch.
In April and May, the Cape enjoys the most divine weather. The days are calm and relatively warm, and slowly nature assumes a golden glow. It may be busy in the Cellar, but there is a calming serenity everywhere else.
What’s not to like?