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2016 Vintage Profile
2016 was another hot and dry vintage, with particularly warm evening temperatures. The season was extremely early and on average 2-3 weeks earlier than normal. Fruit ripened quickly and regular vineyard visits had to be made to ensure that sugar levels did not rise too rapidly, ensuring an ideal picking date. Warmer evening temperatures resulted in slightly higher pH levels than normal. Given the elevation of pH levels, harvesting occurred a little earlier than the previous year to preserve natural acidity. As a result, Quinta Essentia from the 2016 vintage is broader and more supple than the linear 2015 vintage and will develop into a more mellowed style with lots of richness and palate concentration
A deep yellow color suggests full ripeness and complexity. Aromas of baked pear, ripe golden delicious apple, caramelized nuts, and hints of candied citrus are present on a complex and layered nose. The palate is richly textured revealing papaya, mango, and ripe pineapple. Beneath the ripeness and exuberance of the 2016 vintage lies a taught mineral core, that provides a beautiful line of freshness and balance, followed by a lingering after taste.
The 2016 Quinta Essentia Chenin Blanc is drinking beautifully on release and will reward with all the bright tropical fruit that Cape Chenin Blanc is loved for. Further cellaring for up to eight years from a vintage will reward with a melding and development of the various elements into a highly complex taste profile. Expect to see rich honey notes, warm toasted nuts, and freshly baked brioche as the wine matures.
Quinta Essentia is made from unique old vine Chenin Blanc vineyards grown on four special sites on the foothills of the mountains in and around Stellenbosch. The old vines produce optimally ripe fruit with excellent sugar and acid balance. Warmer evening temperatures of the 2016 vintage resulted in localized disease pressure in one of the vineyard sites, necessitating careful bunch selection in the vineyard and precise hand sorting in the winery. All fruit is harvested by hand.
After arriving at the winery, the fruit was chilled overnight to 10 degrees Celsius. Whole bunch pressing resulted in only the best juice being pressed from the bunches, with very light additions of sulfur on the pressed juice. The juice was naturally settled without the use of enzymes and transferred to a selection of French oak casks the following day. Fermentation occurs naturally and lasts for 8 to 24 weeks with periodic battonage.
After ferments had completed, the barrels were topped, given a moderate addition of Sulphur and “tight bunged” on top of the gross fermentation lees.
The individual barrels were aged separately with barrel selection and blending being done in September 2016.
The Quinta Essentia blend is made from only the best barrels, after which the blend of different vineyards is matured for a further three months. The final blend was given a light fining and bottled with minimal filtration in January 2016.