Quinta Essentia 2015 Chenin Blanc
2015 was hot and dry, but followed a good winter in the Cape where soil water reserves had been filled to capacity. The season was extremely early, and on average 2-3 weeks earlier than normal. Fruit ripened quickly and regular vineyard visits had to be made to ensure that sugar levels did not rise too rapidly, ensuring an ideal picking date.
The night time temperatures were much lower than normal resulting in acid levels being well preserved. Fruit was therefore harvested at full ripeness but with higher than normal acidity and low pH levels.
Quinta Essentia is made from unique old vine Chenin Blanc vineyards. All four sites expressed optimally ripe fruit and excellent sugar and acid balance. There was no disease pressure due to the warm days, cool nights and low humidity levels. All fruit was harvested by hand with bunch selection happening in the vineyard and in the winery.
After arriving at the winery, fruit was chilled overnight to 10 degrees Celsius. Whole bunch pressing resulted in only the best juice being pressed from the bunches, with light additions of sulphur on the pressed juice. The juice was naturally settled without the use of enzymes and transferred to a selection of French oak casks the following day. Fermentation occurs naturally and lasts for 4 to 12 weeks with periodic battonage.
Due to low pH and high acid levels, there was minimal malolactic fermentation.
After ferments had completed, the barrels were topped, given a moderate addition of Sulphur and “tight bunged” ontop of the gross fermentation lees.
The individual barrels were aged separately with barrel selection and blending being done in September 2015.
The Quinta Essentia blend is made from only the best barrels, after which the blend is returned to cask for three months. The final blend was given a light fining and bottled with minimal filtration in January 2016.
A deep yellow colour suggests full ripeness and complexity. Aromas of baked pear, ripe apple, hints of fresh citrus and roasted nuts are present on a complex and layered nose. The palate is richly textured revealing pineapple, tropical fruits and golden delicious apple. The finish is long complementeded by a firm acidity that gives the wine length and focus.
This wine will continue to develop in depth and complexity with further cellaring for at least 10 years after vintage.