Late last year, I had the opportunity to head over to Oldenburg Vineyards in the Banghoek Valley to check out their stunning views, and try some incredible wines. Winemaker, Nic van Aarde, and I quickly bonded over the realization that we both worked in the Indian wine industry at vineyards in Nashik just a few kilometers from each other.
Last night I got to join in a virtual tasting with Nic and a few other wine friends. It was a cold, rainy, windy night, so I opened the 2019 Grenache Noir, the maiden vintage for Nic at Oldenburg. Wow.
This is a beautiful wine. Very light and would also be lovely slightly chilled on a warm day. This Grenache has aromas of light plum, fresh strawberries, and raspberries, with hints of spice that gave a cooling sensation in the nose, and a touch of vanilla concentrate.
The wine is very complex; I was smelling and swirling for an hour and continued to pick up new aromas. The tannins were very smooth, and the wine has a long soft floral finish. I would like to say I had enough to try it again today, but let's be honest... I finished the bottle! :)
Notes on the winemaking:
The grapes were picked by hand from 12-year-old bush vines on granitic soil at 410m above sea level. Bunches and berries were meticulously sorted. 1/3rd whole bunch and 2/3rd whole berry fermentation. Wild fermented in a stainless steel tank with punch-downs and pump-overs 1-2 times per day. The wine was basket pressed, and malolactic fermentation took place in barrels, of which only 5 were made. The wine was then matured for 11 months in old 300l French oak barrels.
About the vintage:
While winter had a late start, it was characterized by good rainfall, leading to an even bud break. A turbulent start to flowering season improved towards the onset of summer. Warmer weather in November contributed to even vineyard growth. A moderate January and February was followed by an initially hot February, while cool and wet conditions dominated from the end of February through March, creating challenging harvest conditions. Despite the wetter than ideal conditions, our microclimate allowed the grapes to achieve ideal ripeness.