March  2018

Org de Rac grape varieties keep their cool in a hot, dry year

With the Cape Wineland harvest almost over for the 2018 vintage, we can say there were healthy volumes of grapes – and they were superb quality to boot!

According to Org de Rac wine maker, Frank Meaker, volumes were slightly down due to soil compactness preventing adequate water absorption, but the wine grapes and now fermenting wines show vigour, health and freshness.

“We were actually a few days later in harvesting because a couple of hot 40°C- plus days shut the plants down – no photosynthesis, no ripening,” he says. “I am not even giving a rainfall figure for our farm as there was none to speak of over the past year. The water that did fall, just disappeared as it hit the ground. But what this tough, dry and hot year did show me once again is how incredibly resilient the vine plant is. Nature threw everything at us, yet here we are with ripe white and red wine grapes showing good juice and great quality. Amazing.”

Org de Rac’s Chardonnay for its Cap Classique base wine is ideal: grapes picked at 18.8°B with total acidity of 9.5 grams per litre and a 3.19pH. The Chardonnay for its popular lightly wooded wine and the Chardonnay Reserve was harvested at between 21°B and 24°B, with total acidity lying between 5.8 and 6.2 grams per litre.

“We harvested Roussanne a bit earlier, as these vines were showing some stress,” says Frank. “Along with Roussanne we have also introduced Verdelho into the range and they are proving to be welcome and popular additions. Of the Verdelho we harvested 30% a bit greener and kept this earlier portion in the cooler room with the riper Verdelho to extract a generally fresher character.”

“This could be a classic Chenin Blanc year.”

The harvested Chenin Blanc, says Frank, shows typical varietal features. “Smaller berries and lighter bunches, but dripping with varietal expression. This could be a classic Chenin Blanc year.”

And the same goes for Merlot, Org de Rac’s “go to” grape that has roped in some great awards for the farm. “Good colour, even ripening and a delicious juicy structure is found in the young fermenting wines,” says Frank. “Give it some time in the barrel and we are looking at a Merlot to once again make people sit upright and take notice of what we are doing with organic grapes from the Swartland.”

And what about the infamous Cape drought?

“The vineyard team did a superb job in managing the water during the growing season,” says Frank, “and we saw the benefits of this in harvest time. Water is not in abundance as we are finishing the season, but in the end the resilience of organic Swartland vines is going to pull through into a fine harvest.”

A window on our world

Left and top right: Only the healthiest ripe berries are crushed for making Org de Rac wines. Once the grapes have been picked, our teams sort through the bunches to select only the best fruit.

Bottom right: This bin is known as “the worm”. The grapes are placed in the bin and the worm takes them to the de-stemmer and crusher.

Top left: Red grapes in the fermentation tank. This is where sugar is converted to alcohol and the grapes have to be punched down and pumped over to ensure the juice draws colour, flavour and tannin from the skins. The aroma is intoxicating!

Bottom left: Yes, that is wine maker Frank Meaker working his magic on the 2018 vintage.

Right: Once the juice is fermented and has been pumped from the tank, the dry skins have to be removed from the vessel. No gym work-out compares to this. And purple-red hands are a given!

Org de Rac’s Roussanne 2017 scores highly in inaugural Winemag competition

                                Org de Rac’s Roussanne 2017 scored 92 points in the the inaugural Winemag “Alternative Varieties Report”. It was one of only five white wines out of 52 entries to score higher than 92 points.

The Winemag report focused on single-variety wines that fall outside the mainstream. There were 52 white wine entries and 45 red wine entries. These were tasted blind by a three-person panel and scoring was according to a 100-point quality scale.

The strong performance of Org de Rac’s Roussanne 2017 comes on the heels of the estate’s strong showing in the Winemag Merlot Report 2017. In July last year, Org de Rac’s Merlot 2015 was one of only two wines out of 67 entries to score 92 points in the 2017 Merlot Report.

A case of 6 bottles costs R384. Where to buy »

You can read the full Winemag Alternative Varieties here.



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