Wine Enthusiast magazine (USA) - 93 Points
With a deep black core and bright ruby rim, the Ernie Els Signature 2007 is slightly more light-footed and open than the brooding 2006, but by no means evades its suave personality. The large Cabernet Sauvignon component dominates with rich blackcurrants, whilst the four other Bordeaux varieties contribute with exotic hints of mint, pencil shavings, dark olive and rosemary. Full bodied and punchy, the lushes tannic grip is reigned in by a tightly wound finish that seems endless.
Irresistible now, but best after 5- 10 years cellaring.
58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec
In The Vineyard
The 2007 Vintage
2006 Provided excellent winter conditions with enough cold to provide the vines with a good rest period. Although there was less snow-fall than in previous years, above average rainfall was however recorded. A cooler, wet spring led to uneven budding and irregular berry ripening meant a green harvest was required halfway through véraison. Apart from a sudden heat wave during January 2007 that saw temperatures peak above 40°C, harvest conditions normalised with some welcome rainfall in February and March. The Bordeaux varieties benefited from the cooler weather which slowed the ripening process. Fabulous fruit characters with rich tannins can be expected from the reds and blending proved to be an exciting challenge.
About the vineyard
All fruit was sourced from the Ernie Els Wines property which is situated in the Helderberg region within the Stellenbosch appellation. Each variety is separately managed to create unique and varied flavour profiles for the classic, 'Medoc-style', Bordeaux blend. The warm, north-facing slopes deliver rich, full-bodied red wines. With an altitude of approximately 250 metres above sea level and the cooling influence of the Atlantic Ocean just 15 kilometres away, the ripening period is extended by up to 3 weeks.
About The Harvest
The grapes were hand-picked in the cool of early morning.
February / March 2007. 25.0°Brix average sugar at harvest.
In The Cellar
Grape bunches were gently de-stalked with a Bucher de-stalker and lightly crushed. On the sorting table, all excess stalks and rotten berries were removed carefully by hand. Fermentation took place in 7-ton, open top, stainless steel tanks with yeast WE 372 being added to the juice. The wines were pumped-over and punched-down manually 5 times per day ensuring maximum colour extraction from the skins. After primary fermentation the maceration period was 10 - 16 days before pressing. Each variety is maturated separately (micro-vinified) in oak barrels before blending and eventual bottling.
Cooperage: Aged for 18 months - 300 litre French Oak barrels (100% new).
Production: 1,600 x 6 x 750ml cases