Night falls and black nightshade (aka Nastergal) blooms, its berries ripen to inky black. Nastergal is a blend of Tempranillo and Alicante Bouschet; sourced from the slopes of the Helderberg in Stellenbosch. The Tempranillo, a revered variety originating from the Iberian Peninsula provides backbone and matches well with the rustic Alicante Bouschet. Alicante is a teinturier variety meaning it has red flesh as well as red skin unlike most red varieties which only have red skin, translating to an inky blackness. It is this unique characteristic of Alicante that inspired the wine to be named Nastergal (Black Nightshade) reminiscent of the dark berries of this common weed. 2019 was a challenging vintage for these cultivars as it was a wet winter that went late into a rather hot spring but thankfully with both grapes being early ripening varieties they were spared the mid-summer heat wave with a late January pick date.
The winemaking is kept modest and straightforward to allow the combination of cultivars and site to express itself. The grapes were sorted, fermented separately and without any additions in open top fermenters. The Alicante portion was with 50% whole-cluster while the Tempranillo was entirely destemmed. Routine punchdowns brought a gentle extraction of color and tannin. The grapes were gently pressed after 18 days on skins and drained to barrel for malolactic fermentation. The grapes matured separately in 4th fill 225L French oak barrels for 11 months before blending. It was bottled without fining or filtration and with a small addition of sulfur dioxide.