Cultellus is a derivative of the Latin word ‘culter’ meaning knife. It means a small knife or dagger, referring to the appearance of the razor blade looking schist in the vineyard. Francois has had an unbelievable run with this wine starting with the 2015 vintage. The ’17 and ’18 promise to deliver as well. The 2016 really showcases the iron-rich, minerally schist of the Papkuilsfontein Vineyard just southeast of Malmesbury on the Kasteelberg. Clocking in at 12.3% alcohol this wine delivers all of the spicy drive and perfume that Syrah showcases in the most capable hands and from the ideal site.
The bunches were handpicked and one-third were destemmed. The destemmed fruit was placed in the bottom with the whole-clusters on top in a single one-ton fermenter and fermented without any additions. Manual hand-plunging was used to keep the ferment going and for extraction. After three weeks the wine was pressed directly to a single eight-year-old 500L French demi-muid. After 16 months the wine was racked off the fine lees and bottled without fining or filtration and just a small addition of sulfur.