Ongoing advances in vineyard management and very favourable climatic conditions in the lead-up to the 2013 harvest have produced an absolutely outstanding vintage for the Cape, says to Callie van Niekerk, head of Distell's winery operations.
Yields were as much as 8% up on last year, notwithstanding isolated pockets of wind damage that occurred in late 2012.
Grapes from all the major wine-growing areas across the Cape delivered excellent varietal expression of flavour, but what made the 2013 vintage most noteworthy, was that ripeness amongst whites and reds had been achieved at lower sugar levels, Van Niekerk said.
He added that the harvesting season had been significantly compressed, starting later than usual in January.Moderate summer temperatures with few heat waves and a marked contrast between day and night temperatures had contributed to controlled ripening with good colour and flavour concentration.
"Not even the bout of rain in February set us back. It came at just the right time to replenish moisture in the soils and avoid undue water stress of the vines.”
"White varieties have shown very appealing aromatic characters and excellent balance between fruit acids and sugars. Reds have come in with intense colour, great flavours and generally smooth and soft tannins. Ripening at lower sugar levels means we can make wines of refinement and elegance. Our preliminary tastings of the 2013 wines more than amply bear this out."
Van Niekerk said Stellenbosch, Helderberg, Bottelary Hills, as well as cooler-climate areas such as Gansbaai, Durbanville, Darling and Philadelphia had stood out for the exceptional quality these areas produced this year.
"All round this is an excellent year, so expect to see some superb 2013 Sauvignon blanc, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon in particular," says Erhard Wolf, Distell's chief of grape and wine buying.
He added that in addition to the major red and white varietals, the Distell team was experiencing very promising results amongst the lesser-known varietals such as Viognier, Grenache, Carignan, Mourvèdre Barbera and Roussanne.