This Semillon is made from Certified Heritage Vineyards, which count amongst the oldest in South Africa. These Franschhoek Semillon vineyards have acclimated to the harsh conditions and alluvial soils in which they grow, producing unique wines with intense depth and complexity. These old vineyards’ deep root systems and high skin-to-pulp ratio produce intensely complex, well-structured wines with unbelievable ageing potential.
Two of the vineyards used for our Semillon, planted in 1902 and 1942, are unirrigated bush vines, growing on little to no slope in the ancient Franschhoek Riverbed. These vineyards are well established on alluvial soils with a high loam content. The third vineyard, planted in 1936, is located further up the valley, on a 45-degree south-facing slope, on decomposed granite and quartz. Some of the vines within these vineyards have naturally mutated from Semillon to Semillon Gris, which has a slight red hue and higher skin-to-pulp ratio. The Semillon Gris vines naturally require more ripening time and are only harvested during a second picking. We opted to use a small portion of historic Muscat d’Alexandrie, planted in 1902, to enhance the wine’s aromatic character.
The old vines benefited well from the generally wet weather conditions and low evening temperatures throughout the 2020 growing season. With good vegetative growth and lush canopies, the Semillon ripened slowly and evenly, which contributes to the approachable nature of the vintage along with an enticing minerality.
Grapes were whole bunch pressed and spontaneously fermented in 225L classic barriques and concrete eggs. Maturation occurs at low temperatures, without sulphur additions, for 14 months: 70% in new French Oak barriques and 30% in concrete eggs. This oxidative approach at low temperatures enables us to enhance our old vine Semillon’s textural elements, creating exceptional structure in a wine that can certainly stand the test of time. The Muscat d’Alexandrie was skin-fermented and matured in clay amphora.
The nose is upfront, fresh and inviting, with aromas of mandarin orange, tangerine peel, pineapple and fragrant blossoms and gentle whiffs of angelica, lemon verbena, nettles and spicy oak nuances all adding intensity to the citrus character. Layers of vibrant, pure flavours of kumquat, grenadilla, yellow apple and preserved lemon dominate a lively and complex mid-palate. The slightly savoury, spicy character of the nose follows through with hints of chamomile, marmalade, and beeswax. The wine is fleshy, full, and textured, yet zesty, elegant and balanced, with a beautiful salinity lingering on a pure, taut, slightly pithy finish.
Analysis: Alc: 13.50 % vol | RS: 2.00 g/l | TA: 5.40 g/l | pH: 3.41
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Boekenhoutskloof was established in 1776. Located in the furthest corner of the beautiful Franschhoek valley, the farm’s name means “ravine of the Boekenhout” (pronounced Book-n-Howed). Boekenhout is an indigenous Cape Beech tree greatly prized for furniture making.
In 1993 the farm and homestead was bought and restored and a new vineyard planting programme was established that now includes Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Grenache, Semillon and Viognier.