‘Chaos Theory’ definitely sums this wine up best and really the entirety of 2020 for everyone around the globe and relating back to Blackwater, Francois’ marketing changes. The new packaging was intended to be released in late 2019 but unforeseen circumstances pushed it back to early 2020, and finally late 2020. Chaos, right? The ‘Chaos Theory’ is best summed up that what appears to be chaotic actually has underlying patterns of intent. Maybe that was Francois’ plan all along with the new releases was to pass over much of the pandemic with sales to come in on the back end. As for the wine…Chenin, Clairette, Palomino. Chaos for sure. Three different regions and picking times, the oldest Clairette in Stellenbosch (which was ripped up the following year) some direct press, some skin contact, aged together, three attempts to get export approval…pure and utter chaos. The wine though is brilliant and beautiful and a wine that exists in the cosmos but familiar to many.
The Chenin was the first pick and the wine was barrel fermented until dry, and is ‘simply’ a four barrel selection of Francois’ varietal ‘Piquet’. The Palomino was next to be picked and while the varietal Palomino that Francois makes is the same vineyard, this lot was treated to three weeks on skins in barrel. The Clairette was the only vineyard that was intentionally used for this wine and was fermented in stainless steel spending two weeks on the skins. When all of the lots went dry Francois racked them to 300L French barrels for aging on the gross lees. There was no battonage keeping the wines quite tight even though they went through malolactic fermentation on their own. They were bottled after 14 months aging without fining or filtration and a small addition of sulfur.