Mulderbosch Winery is located in the Stellenbosch region in South Africa. Geographically speaking, the vineyards at Mulderbosch itself – as well as the parcels that we tend to and buy in each year – are ideally suited and designed to produce the best quality fruit possible. All of them situated in the natural funnel made by mountains/hills and valleys that bring in the cool Atlantic Ocean (13 km away) air currents whistling through the rows to temper the summer heat. We are close to the hills and mountains that produce the amazing diversity in micro climate that you would expect from a myriad of growing condition in and around Stellenbosch.
Every cultivar that we cultivate has a set of climatic conditions conducive to produce quality wine. For example, Sauvignon blanc is more fragrant in earlier ripening vintages and cultivars like Chenin blanc and Chardonnay love to have a little more hang time as a general rule. Bordeaux red varietals (Cabernet franc, Merlot) love a cooler walk into the harvest and once the flavours are there you need a few hot days to just get the tannin a little more mature, whereas Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot like to take their glorious time – like royalty tends to do – they soak in all the sunlight and only when the late summer heat comes to an autumn close, do they start yearning for the warmth of a barrel.
For the 2022 vintage we started picking way earlier than last year on the 1st of February – 10 days earlier to be exact – with the dryland Chenin blanc bushvine. These vines are left to tend for themselves without irrigation, trellising or canopy management. Having only your vine structure to lift the fruit off the ground, the grapes had the most exposure to the heat radiation from the hot December/January soils, which as a result got them to ripen very quickly. In fact this specific parcel of Chenin blanc came into the cellar a whopping 18 days earlier than last year. This seems to have been the trend for our region, as the preceding months were really dry, windy and stressful for all unirrigated vineyards.
Irrigated and trellised Chenin blanc vineyards were packed with bunches. Really good quantity of fruit, and then also matching quality of wine after fermentation. Sauvignon blanc was down in quantity somewhat, but what we had to pick out of our different parcels were packed with flavour! The earlier picks coming from the cooler Helderberg sub-region were very flinty, herbaceous and had exceptional length, the later picks from Mulderbosch and the Polkadraai surrounds, brought great tropical fruit intensity, granadilla, pineapple, papaya, Granny Smith apple and ripe pear.
The Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé season kept us busy from start to finish. A first for Mulderbosch with a record harvest through our cellar – making for exceptional Rosé quality. Bright and lush red and black forest berries, strawberry candyfloss goodness with an edge of herbaceousness that only Cabernet Sauvignon can bring to bear.
Our reds started with Cabernet franc (for our Single Vineyard range) and were quickly followed by Merlot. Then we had a long wait for the Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot to ripen, which for Mulderbosch was quite unexpected. Usually, the Petit Verdot is late, but it was almost a month later than last year!
Quality from the earlier to the later varietals is amazing! Softer core of fresh fruit, but built up by an elegant mesh of exceedingly fine tannins, and all boasting the most amazing dark colours….really looking forward to their progression.
We have just finished the last of the malolactic fermentation, and actions are now underway to get all the wines into the appropriate maturation vessels as there is still a way to go before we can put a cork in the bottle, but the overarching feeling from the team and me is one of triumph and excitement. We can’t wait to share the years magic with you all! Cheers to a great 2022.
– Henry Kotzé