08 Jan Gravel Quarry – Winemaker’s Letter
A letter from Johnnie Calitz on the release of the 2017 Gravel Quarry
The rich tapestries of passionate people interwoven with insightful custodians have shaped and continue to develop Glen Carlou Vineyards. I have been Cellarmaster since 2016 and am one of only four winemakers who have guided grapes to wine over the past thirty-two years. Glen Carlou has a splendid storyline that supports a desirable reputation of being a trusted, highly awarded and globally respected wine brand.
There have been some significant changes since our 145-hectare property transferred back to local ownership, when in 2016 a South African family consortium purchased Glen Carlou. Some things, however, will never change and one of those is a magnificent single vineyard block of Cabernet Sauvignon. It was named Gravel Quarry for the soil in which the vines grow and the location of this one-hectare block was alongside an excavated quarry.
I am delighted to share this extraordinary single vineyard wine with you. The 2017 vintage was truly a spectacular year for Cabernet Sauvignon and this release is an excellent example of a full-bodied fundamental Cabernet. The nose shows layers of ripe blackcurrants, red berries, mulberries and hints of cedar and walnuts. With a flavourful palate rounded out by subtle oak spice and firm tannins, this is a balanced wine. I have sealed this release with a hand-selected NDTech premium grade natural cork, offering a zero-taint guarantee.
I am captivated and curious, tinged with a hint of nervousness, when I let a wine ferment naturally. Natural fermentations enable a wine to take its own direction and the building blocks created are very different from an inoculated controlled fermentation. In making this, my first Gravel Quarry, I chose to ferment half inoculated and half natural.
The hand-harvested and hand-sorted grapes were split between 400-litre open-top oak barrels for the natural process and small stainless-steel open tanks for the inoculated. After four weeks on the skins, the unpressed wine was transferred to all new French oak barriques, for twenty-four months. Being a single vineyard wine, there are only 6 900 bottles of this Platter 4.5-star wine.
Under optimal cellaring conditions, this bottle can be aged for up to seven years. However, as I release a wine when it is ready to drink, I would suggest getting your bottle opener now, uncork and enjoy.
Please feel free to let me know your thoughts.