MOYA MEAKER RIESLING 2021
Winemaker: Jean Smit
Cultivar: 100% Riesling
Origin: Habibi Farm, Elgin
Light-yet-intense aromatics announce that these Elgin vines have come of age; enticing notes of elderflower, acacia, and apple blossom are traced with smoky flint and a squeeze of lime.
Fresh green apples, cucumber, and lemon-lime draw you into the palate, which, though delicate, possesses a regal tautness to it all; stretched between vivid acidity and sweet lime fruit.
The piercing acid stretches that tension right across the palate to a bone-dry finish, with just the faintest dusting of chalk.
Our Riesling vineyard faces predominantly west, which means that the combination of regular afternoon winds, and plenty of afternoon sun in the time leading up to harvest, saw the risk of disease largely mitigated; for botrytis in particular.
That all said, 2021 was a vintage that required tireless attention to detail. Producers who spent regular time in their vineyards were rewarded for their diligence, whereas those who simply waited on sugar levels before harvesting will have struggled in the cellar.
In 2020, leaves fell earlier than normal because of the hot and dry post-harvest conditions. The winter conditions were colder than the previous couple of vintages and Elgin had fantastic winter rains that replenished the water reserves to levels not seen since 2015.
The moderate conditions in early spring led to delayed budbreak (although it was delightfully even), but this was countered by the fact that the Western Cape didn’t get the typical heat spikes during December, January and February. Heat spikes can lead vines to suffer stress, shut down, and stop ripening, but the absence of these spikes meant that we didn’t lose any valuable ripening time, and the vines continued to ripen consistently.
The end result was that most of our vineyards ripened at roughly the same time as usual, despite the later budbreak.
Moya Meaker’s Riesling was planted in 2006 on a west-facing slope of our estate in the Elgin Valley. The densely planted vines are seated on ancient Bokkeveld shale soils; rich in clay.
Harvesting of our Riesling took place on 23rd February. The 2021 season was the first of two consecutive profoundly cool vintages in Elgin (especially spring and summer). At the time of picking, the acidity levels were still eye-watering, but the overwhelming elderflower aromas coming off the grapes made it obvious that we couldn’t wait any longer to harvest.
The grapes were hand-picked in the early morning and chilled even further overnight. 100% of the fruit was destemmed, before being gravity-fed into the press. This gentle transfer method ensures that berries are not crushed during the process, which would lead to the release of excessive phenolics. Skin contact was done in a sealed press for six hours, before starting the gentle pressing cycle.
The juice was settled in concrete tanks over 48 hours, before being racked for a cool, spontaneous fermentation, which lasted 37 days. This slower process allows for optimal balance between the residual sugar and acidity.
Bottling took place after five months of lees contact. There was then a further 13 months in-bottle maturation prior to release.
This wine will be at its most expressive within five years of vintage, but with careful cellaring will continue to evolve and improve for more than a decade.
TOTAL PRODUCTION: 1300 x 750ml
BOTTLING DATE: 7 September 2021
TA: 8.6 g/L
RS: 6.9 g/L
VA: 0.56 g/L