Seven Springs Vineyard appears in Swedish travel article

Details of our tasting room experience, and those of our neighbours Ataraxia and La Vierge, have been published on the Swedish wine travel website vinjournalen.se. You can read the full article if you follow the link below. Although it is published in Swedish you can translate the article easily into English.

https://www.vinjournalen.se/vin-fakta/cape-south-coast-din-insider-guide-till-en-vinregionen-pa-den-sodra-kusten-av-kapprovinsen/

Below is our profile page on the Vinjournalen website

Cooler Climate Wines – by Vigneron Gus Dale

To understand what is meant by Cool Climate wines it is important to understand how the vine functions and how this affects the quality of the grapes (and therefore, the subsequent wines).

At the end of autumn the vines send their sugar reserves back down to the rootstock for the subsequent season. In the process, the leaves change colour, a cork like substance is formed in the stem of the leaf, which subsequently drops off.  As this process happens, there is a build-up of a hormone called abscisic acid, which sends the vine into dormancy for the winter period.

In order for the vine to wake-up properly in the spring, this hormone needs to be degraded by cold units (below -2*C for at least 4 days). In the event of a lack of cold temperatures this hormone remains present in the vine and can lead to a number of problems. The most important of which is uneven bud-break. If your vines don’t bud evenly it can lead to a number of problems; uneven growth along the canes, uneven flowering and berry set, to name but a few. This ultimately will result in uneven bunch sizes and varying ripeness (which is a nightmare for picking dates and the subsequent components within the grape – high sugars in some and a lack of phenolic ripeness in the skins resulting in green tannins, high acidity and a lack of colour or flavour).

A further problem is also that if cold temperatures are not obtained and warm day-time temperatures persist, one may witness premature budding, making the vine more susceptible to incremental spring weather resulting in higher fungal pressure (more chemical intervention) and / or damage to the vulnerable new shoots from wind, hail, rain etc. I often compare this phenomenon to a lack of sleep in humans, as one is often less performant after a poor night’s sleep. Long-term, this may also contribute to a shortened life-span of the vine itself (which is why “old vines” are often a rarity in South Africa when compared with the European continent).  Premature pruning will trigger the vine into budding early, bringing with it all the problems previously alluded to. The later one prunes, the longer the vine can “sleep” and the better it will perform, with less need for chemical intervention and with a better natural immunity against drought, excessive heat, fungal pressure or infestation from predator insects.

To conclude, colder temperatures allow for better bud-break and late pruning allows the vine to recuperate from its efforts of the previous season. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are particularly susceptible to warm weather and a lack of dormancy. This is why these two varietals perform best in the cooler winter climates of Champagne and Burgundy as opposed to the warmer South of France. Therefore, planting these two varieties tends to work better in regions such as the Overberg, Hemel en Aarde Valley, Elgin and the Cederberg as opposed to Paarl, Wellington and the Swartland.

Since joining Seven Springs I have made a few minor changes to our viticultural cycle to allow for better dormancy (by pruning as late as possible in August, thus allowing for a longer window of opportunity for “cold-units). As you drive by the vineyards in many parts of South Africa, you will notice numerous farms start pruning as early as June, which is poor practice (but convenient for the scheduled holidays of farmers). One has to intervene when the vine requires, as opposed to when it suits us human beings. Mother nature will always win this particular arm-wrestle and to work against her will only bite you in the ass later on in the season

Cool Climate regions refers more to areas with colder winters as opposed to cooler summer temperatures (which also has on stress levels of vines in season), but winter is the key that unlocks true potential.

As the old saying goes, “you can make a bad wine from good grapes but you cannot make a good wine from bad grapes”.

Augustus (Gus) Dale, Vigneron at Seven Springs

Pinot Noir 2014

7Springs_PinotNoir 2013IWSC2017-Bronze-Medal-New-RGB

 

International Wine & Spirits Challenge 2017 – BRONZE

 

Tasting Notes

As the vineyards show more maturity so does the wine. The 2014 has a soft and supple palate and is medium bodied, with light and pure fruit characters. Garnet in colour, the wine offers opulent aromas of strawberries and dark cherries and hints of forest floor. The oak, as always, is subtle and understated, supporting the fruit driven profile of this wine. To enjoy it fully we suggest you decant the wine at least an hour before drinking and serve at 16-18˚C or as a light red for summer you can serve it at 10-12°C. It can be enjoyed with a variety of foods; such as a mushroom risotto, duck and game dishes or simply on its own.

Technical Analysis 

Alcohol: 13.11%      Residual Sugar: 2.7 g/l      Total Acidity: 5.5 g/l      pH: 3.35           Ageing potential: 5-7 years               Harvested: By hand 13th, 17th & 18th February 2014       Bottled: February 2015        Production: 24,000 bottles (750ml)

Harvest Report

The 2012 harvest began on Valentine’s Day, with the Pinot Noir fruit being the first of the season to be picked. Starting soon after sunrise, the first sorting took place in the vineyard. At the winery the fruit was de-stemmed, crushed and pumped to stainless steel tanks, where it was left, for five days, to ‘cold soak’ at below 50˚F. The ‘cold-soaking’ process helped the extraction of primary fruit characters to enhance the fruit driven wine style. As the must warmed, the wild yeasts occurring naturally on the skins caused fermentation to begin. After two weeks the alcoholic fermentation was complete and the grapes were pressed. It was then moved to second and third fill, French oak barrels and left to mature for 10 months. The older barrels complemented the fruit expression of this style of Pinot Noir; a light bodied, fruit forward wine. Juice from the different clones were kept separate during the whole process and only blended a few months before bottling.

The worlds best Pinot Noir is reputed to result from the selection of clones; a common practice in Burgundy. Clones 777 and 828 are currently favoured in addition to the reliable 114, 115 and 667. These clones are known for their strong colour, elegant rich aroma with hints of small fruits. They give the wine structure and potential for ageing. Seven Springs selected four clones: 777, 667, 115 and 459, planted in 2008, on the warmer north facing slope at 240 meters elevation on Bokkeveld Shale with decomposed granite and deep, rich yellow and red clay subsoil.

A Glass of Red, Shaws Mountain and You (a guest blog by Claire Lightfoot)

As the summer season fast approaches, thoughts of lazy afternoons on the veranda, a glass of vibrant red Pinot Noir <https://7springs.co.za/ourwine/> in hand and laidback conversation as the sun begins to set over a sprawling mountain range, is, for many wine lovers, the very definition of Paradise. There is something instinctively soothing and rewarding about wine; it is as though our entire working day was meant to lead up to this perfect moment when the mood is Zen and the ambience, one of languid enjoyment. Although it seems that every time we turn on the news or pick up a newspaper, we are being told to curb our cravings, cut back on carbs or head speedily to the nearest gym, our body is somehow our wisest teacher and it tells us that this special moment of relaxation, is necessary. Interestingly, our almost instinctual love for wine is backed by a host of findings indicating the surprising health benefits of the drink of the Gods. In this post, we reveal that wine and its derivatives are good for so much more than your soul… but we bet you already knew that!

*Resveratrol vs Cancer:* A recent study<http://medicine.missouri.edu/news/0202.php> by the University of Missouri School of Medicine indicates that resveratrol (a potent polyphenolic compound contained in red wine and grape skins) can make cancerous cells more susceptible to radiation treatment. The study found that melanoma cells reacted better to radiation if they had been treated previously with resveratrol. When the cancer was treated with resveratrol alone, some 44 per cent of the melanoma cells perished. When treated with both resveratrol and radiation, 65 per cent of the melanoma cells died. The scientists concluded that resveratrol could soon be used to treat a variety of cancers. The Executive Editor of Harvard Health, Patrick J. Skerrett, meanwhile, suggests that these findings don’t meant that we should rush to the pharmacy to obtain Resveratrol supplements; rather, natural  is best<http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/resveratrol-the-hype-continues-201202034189> and  we should obtain our quotient of the powerful flavonoid from grapes and our favourite glass of red.

*Resveratrol had already previously been proven to be effective in fighting cancer in three stages: initiation, promotion and progression.* A study in the *International Journal of Cancer* found that men could reduce their chances of contracting prostate cancer by consuming a glass or red wine every day. Drinking four or more glasses a week could reduce the incidence of aggressive prostate cancer by an impressive 60 per cent.

*Resveratrol Boosts the Immunity: *In a study<http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/mnfr.201300266/abstract> of  the ability of 446 different compounds to boost the innate immune system in humans, scientists at Oregon State University’s Linus Pauling Institute found that two compounds in particular had a significant ability to raise the expression of a particular gene (cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide or CAMP), which plays an important role in immune function: resveratrol and pterostilbene (the latter can be found in blueberries). The scientists also concluded that combining these compounds with Vitamin D had significantly more impact than when used alone.

*Grapes and Wine Beautify:* Grapes and wine are all the rage at the world’s top spas<http://www.scottsdalespaandholisticmassagetherapy.com/portfolio/red-wine-mask-massage/>, since they contain a potent cocktail of antioxidants, flavonoids vitamins and minerals that promote youthful skin and hair. Crushed grape seeds make an ideal exfoliant for skin while grape seed oil is a choice ingredient for a relaxing massage. Wine has also been used in upmarket hair products,
since its high antioxidant content helps fight free radicals and protect the scalp against UV rays. Grape seed oil is famed for its ability to ward off dandruff and seborrhoeic dermatitis and is rich in Vitamin E and linoleic acid, which are known to strengthen hair. This is particularly relevant to those with brittle or thinning hair<http://www.licensedprescriptions.com/propecia-or-rogaine/>, since hair loss isn’t always caused by genetics; rather, it can be related to ski conditions like severe dryness and even environmental aggressors. Simply drinking wine will do plenty to raise your beauty factor, since its immune boosting properties may stave off a host of autoimmune diseases<http://www.medicinenet.com/alopecia_areata/article.htm> that have serious consequences for the skin and hair, including dermatitis and alopecia areata.

*Resveratrol May Help Battle Obesity: *Another recent study <http://www.nature.com/ijo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/ijo2013155a.html> published  in the *International Journal of Obesity* involved 11 obese men, who were supplemented with resveratrol of a placebo for a four-week period. Those who had taken the resveratrol showed a significant decrease in the size of fat cells, as well as a decrease in the number of very large and large fat cells. The resveratrol group also showed an increased immune and inflammatory response, which is very much in line with the previous findings mentioned above. If these findings have just about convinced you to pour yourself another glass of red, you should be aware that they are only the tip of the iceberg; previous studies had already indicated a myriad of benefits held by wine, one of the most important of which is the promotion of cardiovascular health. If your heart beats for wine, give in to its full-bodied temptation and drink your way to optimal health and wellness.

This ‘guest blog’ was written for us by Claire Lightfoot