Harvest Summary Report 2012
25 April 2012 by Hidden Valley
Our wine maker, Emma Moffat, was asked in this busy time of the year to spare a moment for reporting on the 2012 Harvest for Hidden Valley Wines. We look forward to our new vintage of Hidden Valley Sauvignon Blanc to be released in Winter.
After a record-breaking season at Hidden Valley, with increased yields of up to 60% and 88% in volume, still retaining excellent quality, the last grapes are finally through the front door, albeit three weeks later than last year. Sufficient cold units during the winter made for good and even budburst, although the colder weather during flowering left us with a few blocks with poorer fruit set.
A late start to the summer was followed by a fairly cool, lengthy ripening period, which favours optimal flavour development in the grapes and better complexity in the resulting wines. We were able to pick grapes at the desired ripeness, thereby making a more fruit-driven style of wine and using the punch-downs and extended skin-contact to maximise colour and tannin extraction.
The cool ripening season meant our high altitude Sauvignon blocks were able to ripen slowly and to develop beautiful tropical flavours and aromas while maintaining their minerality and leanness. This balance between the tropical notes and herbaceous minerality is fundamental in maintaining the quality of the Hidden Valley Sauvignon blanc, year after year. Our Sauvignon is some of the latest to be harvested in Stellenbosch, due to the cool sea breezes which reach the uppermost blocks on the farm, especially.
We are very excited about the Viognier which was made in the style of a cool climate Sauvignon blanc, and is showing beautiful peach and floral characters on the nose but subtle minerality on the palate. The white wines are fermented at very cool temperatures and left on the lees for two or three months after fermentation to create a fuller palate and balance the freshness and natural acidity. This means very long drawn-out fermentations.
This vintage we were able to bunch- and berry-sort virtually every lot of reds that was picked, which is hugely important in the production of small batches of quality wine. It is also essential when working with cultivars such as Petit Verdot and Tannat, which tend to have a tendency towards poor set. Pumpovers and punchdowns were done four times every 24hours, maximising extraction, not to mention the biceps of the cellar team. The Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz have both been outstanding this year with delicious fruit flavours and brilliant colour.
With a couple of batches going through malolactic fermentation, things are starting to slow down. Overall, it looks to be an exciting year for Hidden Valley in terms of quality. Look out for the Hidden Valley Sauvignon blanc, to be released in early winter!
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