Jade is the latest range to join Natasha Williams’ Lelie van Saron label. This new project represents Natasha’s evolution as a winemaker, as she builds her identity in the South African wine industry. The name is meant as an homage to Natasha’s late cousin of the same name who was taken tragically during the pandemic. Jade, the element, conveys purity, harmony, and balance, and it has a luminous quality “like the heaven and stars – a connection between heaven and earth.” A portion of the profits of this range are donated to help provide mentorship to girls in her hometown. Jade differs from the other Lelie van Saron wines in that this range is a little more playful and experimental. This Syrah-based blend comes from vines planted between fields of indigenous fynbos in close proximity to the ocean (about 4-8 km as the crow flies). With the influence from the cool Atlantic Ocean, the valley is considered to be an exceptional cool-climate winegrowing region. Natasha really liked the spice of the Petit Syrah, which she felt was more satiny and elegant than traditional wines of this variety and complimented the peppery Syrah nicely. Her only regret last year was not making more of it, so this year, she increased production by 100%! While 2020 was almost equal parts of both grapes, 2022 saw about 2/3 Syrah and just 1/3 Petite Syrah. There was no 2021 bottling.
The grapes were hand sorted and processed separately. They were destemmed but not crushed in open-top fermenters. With the help of one subtle pump over per day, spontaneous fermentation commenced within two days at an ambient cellar temperature. Alcoholic fermentation and color extraction were facilitated with a daily pump over or punch down. Fermentation lasted 2 weeks and the wine macerated on the skins for another week before being pressed in a basket press. After malolactic fermentation, the wine spent 8 months in older barrels, before blending and bottling. The wine underwent a gentle bentonite fining, which eliminates any unstable proteins and a rough filter was used during bottling to catch any fining debris. A small sulfur addition was made.