Heading north from Malmesbury toward Namibia (not that far of course) and encroaching on the isolated Skurfberg/Citrusdal Mountain ward is steep peak that looks as if it is taking off from the earth. Johan Meyer (AKA Stompie) has his new homestead and vineyard on this hill and is petitioning to have the high altitudes of this hill to be named ‘Piket-bo-berg’, after the geographic name of this mountain. The climate, soils, and aspect couldn’t be any more different than the flatter plains of the ‘Swartland’ below. On the less-dramatic but equally as compelling hillsides below Stompie’s home, Francois was given a little tip about this bushvine, ironstone riddled hillside vineyard at the base of the ‘Piket-bo-berg’ and in 2016 made the trek from Stellenbosch to see the site. He was enamored and knew it would become his ‘grand cru’ shortly. 2017 was the first vintage and the intensity and power of the site is extraordinary. The pH literally stops moving as the sugars and phenolics grow exponentially. This site produces a wine of dense mass with a refreshing vein of acidity that permeates the palate.
The fruit was handpicked in early March and left to cool overnight. The bunches were then whole-bunch pressed, with the turbid juice settling for ten hours in a semi-oxidative state, before being sent to a combination of used barrels in 225L and 500L formats. Fermentation kicked off but took its sweet time, stopping this year with a small amount of residual sugar which Francois decided to retain rather than forcefully “remove” by adding commercial yeast. After 13 months of aging the barrels were selected for this cuvée, as a few made it into the ‘Chaos Theory’ Blanc, and the wine was racked to tank to settle. After two weeks it was bottled without fining or filtration and just a small addition of sulfur.