M.L 100% completed
Cooperage 87% Neutral French 13% New American
Blend 88% Touriga 12% Cabernet Sauvignon [100% Estate grown]
The grapes were harvested in the last week of September at an average of 20.5 brix, the ripest the fruit has ever been harvested. Prior to crushing, the fruit was cooled over night to a temperature of 45 degrees.
The fruit was de-stemmed and by passed the crusher to ensure whole berries were transferred to the fermentation tank.
Due to a high incidence of botrytis, 50ppm Sulfur was added to the must prior to fermentation as well as to kill off any natural yeast on the skins [bloom]. After 24 hours, 15% of the clear juice was bled to minimize the juice to skin ration and pectolytic enzymes were added to facilitate color extraction. Hungarian oak chips were added to the must for added tannin, as well to stabilize the color pigments [anthocyannins] extracted.
The must was inoculated with yeast strain NT116, which is a hybridized yeast from South Africa, used to minimize vegetal aromas in red wines. Fermentation was completed in three days with peak fermentation reaching 88 degrees. During the fermentation the cap was punched down manually every 2 hours for the first 48 hours to facilitate further color extraction
No post fermentation maceration took place due to the high amount of rot and the risk of developing VA; as such the wine was drawn off the skins, while the skins were transferred to press. The press wine was added to the free run wine to build up structure and tannin intensity. The wine was further settled for 48 hours and racked off the gross solids to barrel where a ML culture was added to initiate secondary fermentation.
To highlight the aromatics of the wine, the decision was taken to mature the wine in mostly neutral French oak barrel with one new American oak barrel. M.L fermentation was completed in 6 weeks as determined by paper chromatography, after which the wines were topped off and sulfured. The wine was matured for 8 months. 12% Cabernet was added to the final blend. No fining took place.
Prior to bottling the wine was sterile filtered and the sulfur adjusted to 45ppm free.
Bottling took place May 5, 2008.
Color – Garnet red color with Violet hues.
Nose – Typically European with cedar, tobacco, leather and smoke.
Palate – Firm, rich tannins with green olive notes. Unlike previous years, the wine is old world in style with earthy, leather and truffle undertones.
The tannins are still stiff and rich, which means this wine may be laid down for 5 years.