The Winery of Good Hope is located in the region of Stellenbosch in the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, founded in 1998 and specialising in the mountainous viticultural sub regions of the Helderberg (Stellenbosch), Elgin and the Perdeberg (Swartland). They produce four distinctive wine ranges using traditional, natural viticultural and winemaking methods, at their cellar on the Helderberg mountain. They are fully accredited for enviromental, ethical, and social-upliftment practices.
In the vineyard and also in the cellar, their approach can be best described as a fusion of tradition and innovation. While their own philosophy is greatly influenced by the values and traditions of the Old World, they don’t ignore the cues derived from the local environment. They believe strongly in the Cape's ability (and especially the mountains of the Helderberg, Perdeberg and Elgin) to produce wines of superb elegance and inimitable character, while placing a great deal of faith in their chosen varieties to express the extraordinary array of terroirs that make these sites - with precious little intervention themselves.
Each of the six vineyards from where the grapes are sourced are located on south-westerly and westerly slopes of the Perdeberg Mountain. Situated 70 kms as the crow flies, directly north of Table Mountain and in close proximity to the cooling maritime breezes and the very cold waters of the South Atlantic. Notwithstanding these influences, this remains a hot-climate area. The Shiraz and Grenache vines vary in age from 11 to 21 years old, whil the Mourvèdre and Viognier are between 8 and 10 years – all ‘children of the new South Africa’ as Alex Dale puts it. The Carignan is 36 years old. Yields were very low, at 23-25 hl per hectare. Winter rains were excellent, temperatures nice and cold, followed by perfectly even flowering in the spring. 2009 was, as in much of the world, a quite superb vintage in Perdeberg. ‘It was,’ says Alex, ‘one of those years where the seasons worked as perfectly as one could possibly wish for, producing fruit of exceptional quality, with beautiful natural balance and purity. A great advantage of producing fruit from fabulous well-established and unirrigated bush vines for the entirety of this blend is that we are also able to retain excellent minerality – through low PH’s, good natural acidity and alcohols which are not out of kilter, even in a hot climate like that of the Perdeberg. These bushvines are accustomed to the heat and the toughness of this rugged environment and with so many seasons under their belt, have struck-up a harmonious co-existence. Their root systems go very deep, as they have to look a long way for water, and plunge up to 10 – 12 meters into the granitic sub soils and bedrock below’.
The sorting process starts in the vineyard, although every grape passes over the sorting table in the winery. They are then de-stemmed and placed directly into old-fashioned but ‘fantastic’ open-top oak fermenters, (each varietal separately). Punch-downs were regularly carried-out, also by hand. The Grenache and Carignan (which were partially co-fermented) were not left on their skins for an extended post-fermentation period (in order to retain fruit rather than to extract further structure), unlike the Shiraz which was. The Mourvèdre was partially co-fermented with some Shiraz, the rest separately. The methods used with the Viognier remain our secret. For two thirds of the wines, micro-oxygenation was carried-out in tank and then in barrel, prior to and following malolactic fermentation. (Two thirds of the overall wine was matured in barrel, of which 90% was small French and 10% was American. The ratio of new to second and third fills was: 35%, 30% and 35% respectively. The remaining portion stayed in the tank throughout, where it was also micro-oxygenated). All kept on primary lees throughout their maturation, until racking prior to assembling then bottling. The Shiraz pressed-juice matured separately to the free run, in barrel. All barrel maturation was carried-out in a temperature controlled cellar, over 12 months, on the primary lees. The wines were then assembled into one tank, settled for two months and bottled without filtration.
The vibrant and immensely lively purple hue of this wine shines out of the glass. Its intricate spice, liquorice and wild bush aromas lead on to a wonderfully charged mouth feel that combines with an array of lavender, spices and blueberries. A distinctly mineral quality pervades through the palate and creates lift and freshness in the flavours and a subtle, full and complex finish. A highly individual, enigmatic wine; a true blend. As refreshing in its palate as it is in its approach.