Stellenbosch, South Africa
Cabernet Sauvignon 13%
Cabernet Franc 1%
Phoenix rising. Marked by the worst drought on record, 2018 presented some significant challenges.
After the driest three-year period (2015–2017) in recent history, water resources in the Western Cape
were at an all-time low, putting water supplies under immense pressure and leading to strict water
rationing. Early in the growing season, water received from the Berg River Water Scheme was cut
to forty-five percent of usual allocation, and then further cut to twenty percent in December. Low
soil moisture in Spring, and limited water available for irrigation led to reduced vigour and canopy
size. Some unseasonable rain and low temperatures in October and November disrupted fruit set
and reduced the number and size of berries on each cluster. Harvest timing was normal, beginning on
February 2nd and continued uninterrupted through February 27th. It was humbling to see how well
our vineyards fared under such sustained drought conditions. The 2018 vintage saw yields contract
by twenty-four percent, following a generous 2017 crop. Noteworthy is the small berry size for this
vintage; on average, berries were twenty-five percent smaller by variety and largely under a gram per
The wines of the vintage show concentration of flavour, richness and structure, promising longevity
in the cellar.
Twenty-two months in twenty-four percent new French oak barrique, with the balance in older
Sixty-eight barrels were produced.