MYSTERY 2006Pinotage 2006 I launched this wine as a Mystery wine in August 2007. I gave my clients 2 months to buy, drink and guess the cultivar, vintage and origin of the wine. The first of October 2007 I revealed the Mystery wine with following e-mail to all my clients. The Story
I launched this wine as a Mystery wine in August 2007. I gave my clients 2 months to buy, drink and guess the cultivar, vintage and origin of the wine. The first of October 2007 I revealed the Mystery wine with following e-mail to all my clients.
Thanks to you all for being brave, laying down your ego’s and staring possible embarrassment in the eye by guessing the true identity of the Mystery wine! For me, it’s been much more than just a competition – it started breaking down the communication barriers that exist between the wine producer (me) and the wine drinker(you) – my true motive for this exercise! THANKS AGAIN! I will do my utmost to positively build on this communication platform in the future!
Of course, I’m not going to blurt it out. Allow me the honour of sharing some stats first. To do a proper analysis of the more than 110 entries I decided to award points to each cultivar - 1 point when it was noted as the dominant cultivar or half a point if noted as a smaller component. The result: If I have had to make up a blend of your guesses, the dominant cultivar would be Merlot (31%) and the rest made up with equal amounts of Pinotage (23%), Shiraz (23%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (23%).
Here are the detailed results:
Merlot 39 25.08%
Shiraz 31 19.94%
Pinotage 30.5 19.61%
Cabernet Sauvignon 29 18.65%
Pinot Noir 7 4.50%
Cinsaut 4.5 2.89%
Mouvedre 2.5 1.61%
Malbec 2.5 1.61%
Ruby Cabernet 2 1.29%
Cabernet franc 2 1.29%
Viognier 1.5 0.96%
Sangiovese 1.5 0.96%
Petit Verdot 1.5 0.96%
Zinfandel 1 0.64%
Lifting the veil!
- The 10 yr old vines grow on a North West facing slope on Oakleaf, granite and Kroonstad soils.
- Irrigation was done with Overhead sprinklers.
- Average yield was 10.50 Tons/ha.
- The wine is quite low in alcohol and on 13.19%/vol. Even though the label says 14%.
- Fermentation : With the nature of ???????, fermentation temperatures didn’t exceed 28ºC. The grapes were cold soaked for 2 days and then inoculated with commercial yeast.
- Maturation : 16 months in wood, 3nd – 5th fill barrels. (35%/65% American/French)
Here is the first tip: it is all the same cultivar. YES, a single cultivar wine! In my mind (from a winemaker ' s perspective) however, I see the Mystery wine as a blend, as it was made up of 3 different batches of wine, made in completely different ways.
- Batch 1: 63% of the blend – the part that was made in the correct way, in a manner of speaking. (Fermentation on 4grams per liter French oak staves and racked straight after fermentation into barrel; aged for 16 months. The wine in barrel was dark in color, had good structure, soft tannins with prominent wood flavors.
- Batch 2: 27% of the blend - fermented without wood staves and immediately racked to barrel after fermentation. Here is where the fun started. The winemaker also made Sauvignon blanc and Riesling in the same cellar at the time. After fermenting the 2 white wines, he added the lees (dead yeast cells that contain all the prominent flavors of the Riesling and Sauvignon blanc) to the red wine in barrel! The wine was then aged on the Riesling and Sauvignon blanc lees for 16 months. This part of the wine also had a soft tannin structure, good colour, but had very prominent green pepper and grass flavours to it. A wine that can be chilled before enjoyment!
- Batch 3: The remaining 10% was part of a batch that was fermented in tank. While the wine was in peak fermentation the power went out and the temperature rose very high into the fifties. The wine was high in alcohol, very dry and almost had a burnt taste to it. Horrible on it’s own but perfect as part of a batch to add a bit of dimension.
To reveal the BLANKbottle Mystery Wine (hear the drums, feel the vibe)…….: It is the only cultivar that was born and bred in Stellenbosch.
– a PINOTAGE 2006 from the Simonsberg in Stellenbosch.
So, don’t feel bad if you didn’t guess right! Adding white wine lees is not exactly standard winemaking procedure……. But that’s what I said:
Something completely different; a wine with attitude, but one also with loads of pedigree and character.
And that’s it for the MYSTERY WINE!
For those of you that want to read the very interesting story on how Pinotage were found by Prof Perold, saved by Dr Charlie Niehaus and certified as a cultivar. Go to the Pinotage associations website here. http://www.pinotage.co.za/html/abraham.htmlTechnical InformationVintage: 2006How to order
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