Ashbourne Pinotage 2018


From the maiden release in 2001, this benchmark wine has redefined South Africa’s own red grape variety, Pinotage, with its classic, refined styling and unique complex character. This is a wine unlike anything else, intense, rich and savoury with a beautiful underlying minerality.

SOIL: Low-vigour, stony, clay-rich, shale-derived soil
ALCOHOL: 13.50%
ACID: 5.80 g/l
PH: 3.50
BARREL AGEING: 10 Months in 400 litre barrels, 7 months in neutral
2000 litre Foudre
1ST FILL: 40% 2ND FILL: 40% 3rd FILL: 20%
WOODING: 100% 400 and 2000 litre French Oak Barrels
FRENCH COOPERS: Francois Freres 100%
FRUIT ORIGIN: Hemel-en-Aarde Valley 100%
PRODUCTION: 224 cases of 12 bottles equivalent

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After the early and short 2015 and 2016 harvests, 2018, like 2017 was back to our usual timing, beginning at the end of the first week of February, but (a longer harvest) finishing at the end of the first week of March.  Budding was even and successful, with higher than usual early Spring temperatures, but an unusually wet November and a cool December affected flowering and fruit-set, resulting in particularly low yields – far lower than our already low yields. The berries were smaller and the bunches were lighter, but the resulting wines were deeper, fuller and more structured.  December and January were drier than average, making for relatively easy and successful disease control organically, with February only very slightly wetter than our long term average. A warmer than average February, combined with the very low yields and small berries did however contribute to the riper more opulent style of 2018 compared to 2017.  One of the features of 2018 was fairly variable ripening within individual vineyards, and within individual bunches. Picking on taste, combined with analysis, and picking particular areas within individual vineyards at different times, was particularly important in 2018. This required a high level of vigilance and very close teamwork between cellar and vineyard, both of which were carried out with great success. 2018 was an excellent vintage for us.

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