Harvest Diaries – Chardonnay 2016

Harvest Diaries – Chardonnay 2016

This cultivar was originally found in Burgundy in the eastern part of France and smuggled to South Africa in the 1970’s. This green skinned grape boasts tropical, butter and honey flavours in the medium climate of South Africa. Marklew Family Vineyards situated in The Simonsberg ward on the R44 has an ideal terroir (soil, climate and slope) for Chardonnay. Chardonnay in South Africa is usually ready to harvest at the beginning to mid February. This year was no exception even though we experienced an extremely hot period around Christmas time which spikes the sugar levels inside the grapes faster than the acids. At harvest we picked the grapes at a 24.5 Balling (natural sugar level inside the grape), pH of 3.5 and with a natural acidity of 5.8. The pressed grape juice was then moved into stainless steel tanks where fermentation (the change from sugar to alcohol thanks to natural and added yeast) took place. The juice was inoculated with Laffort VL 2 yeast and supplemented with Thiazote (an organic nutrient found inside the grape) which ensures the fermentation runs smoothly and with no risk of a stuck fermentation. The fermentation period lasted for 10 days. The newly fermented grape juice was then moved into barrel where maturation and malolactic fermentation (a second fermentation where the harder malic acid changes into a softer lactic acid) took place. During malolactic fermentation we used an airlock bung whereby no oxygen could enter the barrel (which is the main cause of wine spoilage) but carbon dioxide (the by product in wine making) can escape through a bubbling effect out the top of...
My Wine Journey So Far

My Wine Journey So Far

As promised in my previous post, this post is all about my love for wine and how I become more loving, knowledgeable and thirsty than your average Joe. After an extremely fun, chaotic and mind enhancing 4 years I received a degree from The University of Stellenbosch, majoring in Viticulture and Oenology (Winemaking). Simply put, my time spent at Elsenburg, the agricultural faculty, was nothing short of challenging. Going to Afrikaans only lectures and being one of only a handful of English speaking people didn’t make me the most popular person around. Even more so because of my style of dress and occasional peroxided beautifully flowing mullet. I’m not saying that there w as a purposeful segregation, it’s just how things are I guess. My saving grace at some campus interaction came when I made the Koshuis (Residence) First team rugby which earned me the nickname “Soutie” for years to come. I won’t go into too much detail about those 4 years as there isn’t enough space on the internet to mention all the good times. What I can say is that they involved a lot of out-of-the-box thinking, much time spent alone in the library and some groundbreaking conversations with lifelong friends. Going to University is definitely the most fun I’ve ever had but I think any student will tell you that although there are 1000’s of other students in the same boat as you, they aren’t going to sail your ship safely to harbour. You my friend are the captain!   January 2012, 2 months after my graduation ceremony I got an internship on the flawless and well renowned...