We caught up with winemaker Anthony de Jager for the latest news on this year’s harvest:
“February is usually the hottest month of our harvest season, but in 2015 that prize went to January. We did have one scorching day (42-44°C) in February, but by then most of the grapes had already been picked. We picked 60 to 70 per cent of the grapes during night time, to ensure that cool grapes were brought into the cellar.
“We finished two to three weeks earlier than usual, making it one of our earliest harvests ever. It was quite a challenge trying to squeeze the rapidly ripening crop into our new cellar, which wasn’t completed at the time. However, we managed to work around it.
“Across all our vineyards, the yields are a bit lower than last year. Darling is down by 15 per cent, Paarl by 8 to 10 per cent, and Stellenbosch by 30 per cent. The yields from our Cabernet and Merlot blocks are even lower,due to smaller berry size and a very dry season.
“A smaller crop isn’t always a bad thing. While the yields are lower, the quality is still good, so our expectations are high. It’s still early days, but things are looking up. We are especially excited about our wonderfully spicy Cinsaut and have kept a few barrels of it aside. Cinsaut is usually a bulk grape variety, so it’s receiving special care and attention from us. The Beacon, Sauvignon Blanc, Darling Chenin Blanc, Jakkals and Eenzaamheid also look great.
“Even though the crops are smaller, the quality of the fruit is better this year. The concentration of flavours is excellent, but we’ll have to wait and see whether 2015 will surpass 2009.
“This year also marks our first attempt at port, for which we’re using Tinta Roriz and Souzão. Both varietals are already in the cellar, and if all goes well, our port will see the light in about five to six years. We’ll keep you posted!”