Erika O Flabbergast Cinsault 2018
The 2018 harvest season was really challenging, due to a prolonged drought which some believe to be the worst in 100 years. 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.
The Paarl region once again experienced an exceptionally dry and warm post-harvest period. The vines kept their leaves for longer than usual in the post-harvest period, which was beneficial for the accumulation of reserves for the coming season. Winter arrived late but was cold enough to break dormancy. Day temperatures were notably warmer and night temperatures colder than usual due to the dry conditions. Much lower rainfall was recorded, less than half the long-term average rainfall.
Budburst started later due to cooler weather extending into August and September. Uneven flowering and berry set was common due to windy conditions and cold periods. After slow shoot growth initially, vines picked up the pace as temperatures rose toward the end of November. Although December and January were hot, with temperatures reaching 35 °C, none of the usual heatwaves were present. The rest of the growing season and harvest were notably cooler than normal.
The dry warm weather resulted in healthy grapes and small berries with good intensity. Noteworthy is the small berry size for this vintage; on average berries were twenty-five percent smaller by the variety and largely under a gram per berry, adding to concentration. The greater variation between night and day temperatures during the ripening stage gave the colour and flavour formation a further boost, which is indicative of remarkable quality wines. Harvest timing was normal and the Cinsault was harvested on the morning of 21 February 2018.
The 2018 harvest produced wines of excellent quality despite the challenging weather conditions experienced and produced wines with concentrated fruit, complexity and good ageing potential.