Elgin_Pinot Noir_2022


Winemaker: Jean Smit

Cultivar: 100% Pinot Noir

Origin: Habibi Farm, Elgin

First impressions deliver a delightfully visceral bouquet of candied cherry and rose petals, contrasted with moodier elements of Shiitake mushrooms, dried leaves, cedar, and fresh potting soil.
The palate offers vibrant sour cherry alongside sweeter pomegranate, wrapped up in fine, red plum skin tannins.
Given time to warm in the glass, the wine reveals deeper elements of roasted plum, white pepper, and a hint of baking spice.

2022 was a vintage that required tireless attention to detail. Producers who spent regular time in their vineyards were rewarded for their diligence, as the fast-changing conditions required constant monitoring.

We had sufficient rain in the winter of 2021. Due to higher-than-usual winter rains, our groundwater levels finally recovered from the drought that started in 2017/2018. The winter was atypically cold, with above-average cold units. This created excellent resting conditions for our vineyards to be able to enjoy an even budbreak (albeit quite late).

Growth was slow initially, but picked up quickly during flowering and fruit set. This change of pace required “rapid-response” viticulture from the team, as the quickening shoot growth in summer, and the subsequent rains, dramatically increased disease pressure. Ordinarily, viticulturists would respond with more vigorous topping and leaf plucking in the fruit zone to lower disease pressure. But in this instance, the result would have been some disastrous sunburn to the grape when, just a few weeks later, a series of severe heatwaves hit the winelands.

Conditions like these really highlight the importance of site selection when planning one’s vineyards. Our very dense-planting regimen and low irrigation naturally lower vine vigour, and the very windy site also reduces disease pressure. The combination of these factors meant that we could keep most of our leaves on the vine, which protected against sunburn when the heatwaves arrived.

Fortunately, the rest of the season had constant, moderate conditions, which allowed the grapes to enjoy a hangtime roughly two weeks longer than usual. The end result was the production of some strikingly elegant wines, with moderate alcohol levels and intense flavour.

Moya Meaker’s five blocks of Pinot Noir are stretched across a single south-facing slope in the Elgin Valley. The densely-planted 3.12 hectares of vines were established in 2010; rooted in ancient clay-rich Bokkeveld shale soils. For a long time, wine pioneers in Elgin worried that red varieties would struggle to ripen in these cool, oft cloud-covered summer days, but through rigorous canopy management, our 667- and 777-clone Pinot Noir vines enjoy an exquisite combination of warm African sun and the characteristic cool, rolling mist banks.

Our Pinot Noir grapes were harvested by hand between 21 February and 01 March, at ripeness levels between 22.9 and 24.5°B. The fruit was destemmed and gravity-fed into tulip-shaped Italian concrete vessels. This process prevented the crushing of berries so that whole berry fermentation was possible. To capture the elegance of the fruit and avoid excessive extraction, the wine spent just 10 days on skins, with relatively short pump-overs taking place twice per day. Malolactic conversion occurred spontaneously in a combination of 2000-litre conical Austrian oak foudre and 300-litre Burgundian oak barrels, 25% of which were new. The wine was matured on its lees for 11 months.

This wine will be at its most expressive within three to five years of vintage, but with careful cellaring, it will continue to evolve and improve for up to a decade.

TOTAL PRODUCTION: 7975 x 750ml and 90 x 1500ml

BOTTLING DATE: 17 January 2023
Origin: Elgin
Alc: 13.37%
pH: 3.42
TA: 5.1 g/L
ES: 1.3 g/L
VA: 0.64 g/L