In wine, the ultimate next-level feeling of generosity for me, must be pouring wine to my friends from a Magnum – double bottle – 1.5 liter.
So herewith the release of a wine called 69.99999 – Bottled exclusively in MAGNUMS – a 2016 Voor-Paardeberg Syrah (my 3rd vintage from this block of grapes)
In 2014, I was walking through an organically farmed Syrah vineyard in the Voor-Paardeberg. It was close to brunch time so I picked a bunch of grapes and stripped the berries off the stem. I was left with a clean stem and my lunchbox full of berries. I then ate the stem. Pure pepper spice! So my thoughts were: if I ferment the wine without removing the stems (a.k.a. whole bunch fermentation), chances were that I could possibly extract some of that exciting spice. So I chucked 33.33333% of the total volume of grapes into a fermentation vessel and crushed it with my feet. With the balance of the grapes, I removed the stems using a de-stemmer and filled the tank. All the grapes then underwent spontaneous fermentation. After 4 weeks, I pressed the grapes and the wine aged in barrel for a year. When the time came for label design, I did a pencil drawing of an old-fashioned film camera taking a photo of a grape-stem. I blacked the camera lens in such a way that only one third of the stem was exposed to the camera. I then called the wine 33.3333.
In 2015, the stems were super ripe and I decided to do 100% whole bunch fermentation. On the label I altered the sketch in order for the camera lens to have a 100% exposure to the stem.
Then, for this wine (the 2016 vintage), the stems were ripe, but not as ripe as the 2015 vintage, so I went for a 70% exposure. A close friend of mine has a wine called Seventy, so couldn’t go there. I then decided to call my wine 69.99999. Again I changed the label, in order for the stem to have a 69.9999% exposure to the lens.
The wine is Northern Rhône like is style, super spicy with nice grip. Ageing will only do this wine great but you can also drink it now. I bottled all in 1.5 liter Magnums. Why in Magnums? I’m not completely sure – it was as if the personality of the wine demanded huge bottles – And if I have to choose my favourite wine from the cellar – 69.9999 2016 would be in second place…