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Vintage Report  2013

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Merlot 2013

Despite a wet winter, the season 2012-13 was characterized by drought. Only during the harvest month - unfortunately - we registered untimely rain. So on the one hand, we had to deal with the danger of sunburn, while on the other hand we had to cope with the onset of botritis, which had to be carefully sorted out at harvest. With 600 gr/m2, the overall yield was smaller than usual, but the resulting fruit after sorting was beautifully ripe, with at the same time moderate alcohol potential. The resulting wines are accordingly elegant and complex, with exquisitely ripe and tender tannins. Complemented with a bit of Petit Verdot and Malbec from neighboring vineyards, they present themselves aromatic and complex, ripe and supple, with well composed structure. As Ingrid says, like an elegant, well-trained thoroughbred horse: fit to race!

After careful evaluation, we differentiated our reds of this vintage eventually into two different wines, producing 6800 bottles of Bein Merlot 2013 and 2900 bottles of Little Merlot 2013.

Detailed Vintage Report : Season 2012 - 2013

May 2014: Bottling of the red wines

As always, our red wines are matured for one year in traditional oak barrels. Of course, the wine doesn''t just lie there; it goes through profound maturation processes. To make sure that it develops to perfection, it is supervised like an ICU patient and tasted and analyzed on a regular basis. In addition, each barrel is "racked" three times, i.e. the wine is syphoned from the deposit that naturally forms on the bottom of the barrels. The barrels are then washed and sulphured for disinfection. Finally, the wine goes back into the barrels. This process clarifies the wine and simultaneously allows it to take up some oxygen, which is beneficial to its development.

Last but not least, we blend the different batches according to their quality, also experimenting with additional varietals, which we source from neighboring winemakers. So this year, we blended our Merlot with a little bit of Petit Verdot and a splash of Malbec, resulting in two cuvees, the Bein Merlot and the Little Merlot. Again, no Reserve Merlot has been produced from this vintage.
End of May 2014, we finally bottled the wines. The new Little Merlot 2013 is available after a short rest from August 2014, while the Bein Merlot was allowed to mature for another few months before its release.

May 2013: Bottling of Pink Merlot

Fermentation of the rosé juice was done over 3 weeks at 15 degree C.The wine was allowed another 8 weeks on the lees, which we believe gives the final wine its roundness and mouthfill. The rosé was then racked, cold stabilized and filtered for the first time. At the end of May, it was bottled and soon afterwards released for early drinking pleasure.

March-April 2013: Harvest time!

As we do every year, we differentiated our vineyard in quality sectors by means of multispectral aerial imagery and we harvested accordingly. Having brought in the fruit for the rosé already at the end of February, we harvested the crop for the red wine between 22 and 27 March. The weeks in between, however, were a bit worrying. Although with generally mild temperatures and cool nights, a short heat wave right at the beginning of March and some showers continued to bother the grapes, on the one hand with sunburn on the exposed berries and on the other with some rot. Even the sugar accumulation slowed down, so we waited as long as possible. Luckily, we could once again bring in the fruit just in time before the first real autumn rains set in.
Yet careful sorting was imperative, which improved the quality but of course reduced the quantity to just under 600g per square meter. What finally arrived in the cellar was of superb quality. The fruit was evenly ripe and very tasty, with sufficient acidity and a pH of 3.6. And the sugar content was positively moderate of 23.5-24.5 Balling. After fermenting for about 10 days on the skins in stainless steel tanks, the wine was transferred into French barriques.

January-February 2013: Ripening time

January was as dry as the preceding four months, but the rich soil water reserves apparently held out, so comparatively little irrigation was needed despite the on-going drought. Temperatures were mild and especially night temperatures were noticeably lower than usual. Veraison set in exactly two months after flowering, i.e. on 15 January, and was just as even and quick. It was as if someone had flipped a switch, and within a few days, the grapes had changed from green to dark blue!
On 9 February, a downpour brought some relief, and ripening progressed well. We had harvested the grapes for the rosé on 28 February, as early as never before, yet the fruit was tasty and sweet.

September - November 2012: Early Summer

After a rainy winter with 35% more rain than usual, the new vintage began in mid-September, slightly later than other years. The weather was initially quite mild and the soils well supplied with water, so budding was even and fast. By the end of September, we had to "sucker" for the first time, i.e. remove excessive buds. On 19 October came a moment of shock, with 39mm rain within one day and at times dense hail, but fortunately only with relatively fine hailstones, so that no damage occurred. This was the last precipitation for the following months.
Flowering started this year on 16 November and was so in sync that within only a few days, the spectacle was over. This is a good sign, because it promises an even ripeness at harvest. Well that this delicate phase was over so quickly, because it was followed by a time of strong winds, which inflicted considerable damage in other parts of Stellenbosch, especially in exposed positions and on late-ripening varieties.

June - August 2012: After the rain comes the sun

Winter in Stellenbosch can be rainy, cold and miserable. But when the
sun comes through, it is simply miraculous. Spring brings about flowers
all over the place, and the birds show off in the most beautiful colors. View some of these miracles in the video below:

Previous reports have been condensed to vintage reports for each year and can be looked up there!