This is the sophomore release and is definitely becoming a standard for minimally handled Hemel-en-Aarde Chardonnay for Natasha. The Debos Vineyard is just on the north side of the dam for which it is named at the base of the Babylonstoren Mountains. The small block that makes this wine is a south/southwest facing slope at roughly 550-650 feet in elevation with the vines planted between fields of fynbos and in very close proximity to the sea. 2018 marked the ‘end of the drought vintages’ and while the growing season wasn’t as extreme as the two previous vintages, the yields were already cut immensely at flowering. Overall it was a healthy season for the grapes with little disease pressure. The bunches were small, with berries smaller than usual, resulting in concentrated flavor.
The grapes were handpicked and then hand sorted at the winery prior to being whole-bunch pressed with an overnight settling to get the chunky stuff naturally filtered out. The following morning the wine was racked and spontaneous fermentation commenced within two days at the ambient cellar temperature in a mixture of concrete tanks and older French 300L oak barrels. Primary fermentation took four months to complete with zero additions, and malolactic fermentation was completed during this time as well. The wine sat on lees with no battonage for an additional 16 months prior to being racked and blended to tank. After two additional months the wine was bottled with a rough filtration and aged in bottle for another four months prior to being released.