Grapes were sourced from low-yielding (6 – 8 t/ha) old vines (10 – 20 years old) located on DB Rust’s 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 sulpher was added prior to transport to protect the grapes from oxidation. 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 of which 20% was new and the rest second and third fill. 95% of the barrels were French oak and the remaining 5% was American oak to add a fruit and vanilla component. Barrel maturation lasted for 18 months whereby the wine was racked only once.
The 2016 harvest was the smallest in the last few years after a hot, dry growing season. Dryland regions such as the Swartland were among the worst affected as heatwaves continued well into October. Despite this, quality is good as the drier season resulted in healthier vineyards, smaller berries and more concentrated fruit flavours and colours.