The best time of the year has arrived yet again. I feel like we just set the sheers down from the 2022 vintage and yet here we are again.
With each new harvest there are always many feelings and themes that come up – some of which stand out and tend to define the vintage. For 2023, my 5th vintage here in SA, the primary theme is focus.
In all years prior I’ve been figuring a lot of things out. Figuring out which wines I really want to excel at, what exactly my style is, and what defines LOST BOY wines. But for 2023, for the first time, I have the answers to most of these questions. And now I am able to really hone in on the things that are most important to me.
First off the vines for 2023 will be Pinot Noir for my Brut Rosé MCC. These grapes were picked earlier this week, pressed, and are busy fermenting as we speak. With the elegant, expressive, delicate style I go for with this wine, it will undergo a long, slow, and cold ferment over the next 2-3 weeks before it rests on the lees for another 3-4 months before going to bottle. From there it will sit on the lees after the 2nd ferment for approx. 18 months.
Next up will be the first still wine of the year in my LOST BOY Rosé. I reckon these grapes will be coming in first week of February and also following a similar fermentation regime as my MCC with a long, slow, cold ferment.
After that will be the Cinsaut component of my LATIGO Rosé.
Followed very quickly by Sauvignon Blanc for my Fumé Blanc. I’m expecting these grapes to be ready 2nd or 3rd week of February. While rosé picking tends to be very chemistry-dependent as the grapes ripen, my Fumé Blanc is picked almost entirely on the flavours in the vineyard. There is about a 2-3 week window where these grapes will be tasted daily and when the right expression is there, they come off.
Next up will be Cinsaut for my red wine Carbonic Cinsaut.
Then the Mourvédre component of LATIGO.
And lastly, around mid March, I’ll finish the vintage off with Syrah from one of my favourite blocks of vineyard on the whole farm. The fermentation and skin contact time will likely only see this final wine tucked away into barrel around mid April – making for quite a lengthy harvest season.
As you may have read on social media, I have 2 exciting new projects taking place this year that I’m thrilled to share with you.
I will be making 2 separate Rosé Pét Nat’s – one of which is already fermenting and will be headed to bottle within the next 10 days.
The first one is a rosé of Pinot Noir made from a tiny block of vineyard in a very good friend’s front yard just up the road in Stanford. I’ve got many photos to come (follow along on social media to see more) but it is one of the most picturesque and beautiful little vineyards I’ve ever seen. Just 20 minutes down the road from our Pinot Noir, I’m especially excited to showcase the incredible diversity you find in this country from region to region – even when they are so close together.
The second one still to come is a rosé of Merlot from our farm here in Cape Agulhas. Now there are a lot of things about this wine that may raise some questions. Cool climate Merlot being used to make a sparkling rosé? A bit strange…
I’m not sure how it happens, but our Merlot vineyards produce some of the most vibrant, elegant, and delicious rosé though. And I believe when put into a sparkling format, it will be even more special.
Both of these new wines will be released in Johannesburg at a special tasting event in late April. Look out for a sign up link in the coming weeks.
Cheers to a wonderful new vintage, everyone. I can’t wait to see what the harvest brings and to share the rewards with you all soon!