The foremost feature of the Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley appellation is the outcrop of weathered Granite soil that is exclusive in the Cape South Coast. This iron rich
granite is found in diverse size and texture due to the various stages of cooling when the magma formed this parent rock. GRANUM is grown exclusively on sites of higher
density plantings and Echalas–trained (vine trained on its own wooden stake) vines of Syrah and Mourvèdre. The most rugged of these are found at the very bottom of
the Newton Johnson farm. Granite soil is known to bear fresh, precise and aromatic wines and is a perfect match for these varieties. After a few years in the pipeline, we
took the decision to release the first edition of this estate red from the very worthy 2012 vintage. It carries our own typical approach of soft handling in the cellar and
a generous use of whole bunches and stems to mark definition and length.
Location & Climate
These vineyards lie at the very bottom of the farm in the densest deposits of granite rock and claystone, at an altitude of 220m in the Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. This
appellation ranges from 4 to 8 km in proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. The climate is cool and temperate, where parallel mountain ranges channel the southerly oceangoing
winds through the appellation during the summer. These southerly winds in turn create regular sea mists and overcast conditions, moderating the temperatures in
the valley. Weather data from 2011-2015 conveys an average of 2620 growing degree days on the Winkler Scale, placing it in Region II. Cooler vintages (such as ’13 & ’14) deviate in to Region I. The annual rainfall is 910mm, with 50% falling in the winter months (May–August).
A sturdy, evolving vintage. Layers of mature black fruits, cured meats, and sleek graphite edge mark the nose, with high notes of warm spices. Complex, grainy tannin
and concentrated flavour, with some succulent, stemmy grip. Acidity from the cooler vintage gives real focus in the finish.
GROWING SEASON & HARVESTING
An unprecedented and difficult season characterised by extremes of rain and temperature, more acute than in 2013. Though the winter came with good rains
and built up some decent cold units, the relatively warm June and July meant the cold came late and interrupted budding in early September. Heavy rains, including
130mm on 16 November caused havoc during flowering and initiated the first infections of downy mildew in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. Large canopies were again
threatened with secondary infections of downy following rains between 5 – 9 January (120mm). Some cases of oidium and botrytis experienced during harvest were
exacerbated by the weekly occurrence of rains interspersed with hot, muggy days. An effective, well timed regime for the control of these pathogens was of utmost
importance. Early harvesting at lower alcohols was also a feature, to ensure good quality fruit and manage rot challenges. The Syrah was harvested first on the 6th and
13th of March and the Mourvèdre on the 27th of March 2014.
The grapes are packed in to large-surface area crates to limit pressure on the bunches. The day’s harvest is cooled down overnight to 8ºC in the winery’s refrigerated
cold room. The bunches are sorted on a conveyor, destemmed, and fall directly to the fermenter. All parcels are fermented with a discretionary percentage of whole
bunches together with their stems. Cold maceration ensues for 3 to 6 days at 8 to 10°C. All parcels are fermented with indigenous yeasts, and only pigeage (punching
down) applied for extraction. The wine spends approximately 25 days on the skins before pressing. After pressing the wine is racked and left to complete its malolactic
‘fermentation’ and maturation in oak barrels.
MATURATION & BOTTLING
Matured for 12 months in 500L barrels produced in Burgundy and custom made for the various vineyards. Tighter grained oak is preferred for subtle flavour, with
longer seasoning and slower, lower temperature toasting. New oak comprises 27%. The wine is racked to stainless steel tanks for another 6 months of élevage. No fining
and filtration before bottling.
Alcohol by volume: 13.93 %
Total Acidity: 5.9 g/l
Residual sugar: 2.1 g/l
Wine of Origin: UPPER HEMELEN-AARDE VALLEY
• 88% Syrah
• 12% Mourvedre
Porphyritic granite and claystone. 2 metres of 80% stone over clay subsoil.
North-West facing. Slope of 6%.
Echalas and Goblet (bushvine)
AGE OF VINES
Echalas and Goblet (bushvine)
VINES PER ha
2–3.2 tons/ha (13–21 hl/ha)