Echalas Vineyard, Heritage Field Blend
Cinsault 70%, Cabernet Franc 20%, & Alicante Bouschet 10%
“Stoksielalleen” – “Only the lonely”
Vineyard – A tiny Echalas or stok-by-paaltjie (staked vine) site rooted in decomposed granitic soils with smatterings of sandstone & ironstone over yellow clay hemmed in by the majestic Jonkershoek mountains & benefitting from a cool micro-climate. Prof Orffer consulted on the establishment of this field blend of Cinsault, Cabernet Franc & Alicante Bouschet which was the norm in pre-Phylloxera Stellenbosch. A vintage very analogues to that of ‘19, but which has shown some vine stress in the form of “hard” phenolics due to the continued lower than average rainfall & mild winters – smaller clusters, thicker skins and concentrated flavours with elegance was the norm, a Good Cape Vintage.
Vinification – Second ever vintage for us, harvested the first week of March at dawn, based upon taste & a mere 1.85 tons of this “mix” was destemmed with a portion of whole-berry into a small lagar (open top cement fermenter) with a day of cold soaking. Inoculated with a Pinot-specific yeast strain, cold fermented over the course of a week with manual pigeage. The lagar was gently pressed with horizontal basket press into old French oak barrique to complete fermentation & malo. After 12 months of barrel tempering, the wine was bottled unfined & unfiltered – as they would have done in the old days, a sediment will form. Only yeast & small amounts of sulphur are added during the process.
Wine – A true shape shifter of a wine – hedonistic Cinsault aromatics of bright red & black hedgerow fruits morph into earthy sweet notes of Alicante, while gravel, graphite ‘n blue fruits of Cab Franc pop out ever so often. The “chameleon’-like nature is to be expected due to the nature of the vineyard. It’s a joyously juicy wine with firmly restrained tannins & medium to light palate weight with ample spice, fruit & “seriousness” to intrigue and delight. Deserving of accompaniment by rustic country fare – slow roast leg of lamb, waterblommetjiebredie, char-grilled T-bone or venison pie – or simply a selection of charcuterie, fine fromage in good company & much cheer. Best to decant in youth or cellar to experience its full potential & journey in the decades to come.
Vintage 2019 yielding 1200 bottles
ANALYSIS: Alc. 13,8 % | pH 3.45 | TA 6.1 g/ℓ | RS 2.1 g/ℓ
Philosophy – A revival in the truest sense of the word – a heritage “field blend” block inspired & planted by a South African viti-viniculture legend as a living reminder of what was almost lost to the annals of history & glimpse back to the old days of Stellenbosch wine farming as never before.
Fledge & Co