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Blackwater

2018

‘Picquet’

Chenin Blanc   |   Swartland - South Africa

About

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 takes its sweet time as the wine didn’t go dry for nearly four months, which is the norm for this site given the crazy low pH. After ten 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.

Stats

  • Grapes: 100% Chenin Blanc
  • Vineyard: Picquet Vineyard
  • Vine Age: 26-years-old
  • Soil Type: Hard ironstone
  • Viticulture: Sustainable – dry-farmed
  • Fermentation: Native – whole-bunch pressed to five old 225L barriques and one 500L demi-muid
  • Skin Contact: None
  • Aging: 10 months in five old 225L barriques and one 500L demi-muid
  • Alcohol: 13.9%
  • pH: 3.13
  • Total Acidity: 7.3 g/L
  • Total SO2: 101 ppm
  • Total Production: 183 cases

Tasting Note

The nose is complex and alluring showing pear, citrus and white peach overlaid with subtle notes of hay, yellow earth and spice while there’s also just a hint of yeasty complexity. The palate has great fruit purity and coated acidity while the finish has some nice phenolic grip thanks to “exceptionally small, thick skinned berries”. It’s remarkably vivid and packed with detail.

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