Grapes were sourced from low-yielding (6 – 8 t/ha) old vines (10 – 20 years old) located on DB Rust’s Swartland farm, Constantia. The soils are deep red Oakleaf and Hutton ensuring excellent water-retention and adding structure and fullness to the wines. The vines have been planted in such a way to benefit optimally from the cool Benguela current sea breezes. These breezes cause summer temperatures to range between 20 – 30°C.
Harvesting occurred at optimal ripeness when the grapes were between 25 – 26° Balling. Picking was done in the early morning hours to ensure the grapes arrived cool at the cellar. Dry ice and sulphur were used to protect the grapes from oxidation during transportation. Cold soaking was done for 24 hours before inoculation. Grapes remained on the skins for 24 hours to allow for colour extraction. Fermentation lasted between 4 and 6 days at 22 – 25°C. The wine underwent malolactic fermentation in 300L medium toasted Vicard and Taransaud barrels, 10% of which was new French oak, 80% second fill French oak and the remaining 10% was Hungarian oak – to add spiciness. Barrel maturation lasted for 15 months whereby the wine was racked only once.
The 2018 harvest was challenging being one of the driest seasons in recent times. The night temperatures were low overall with exceptionally cold weather conditions. The vineyards generally showed good and balanced growth without being excessive or too vigorous. In most cases the water supply was sufficient while the ripening period was cooler and drier than usual. The grapes reached good acidity and lower pH levels and managed to accumulate the sufficient sugar levels. The season was characterised by healthy, full-flavoured grapes.