Rijk's Newsletter | February 2013

Tuesday, 26 February, 2013
Extending beyond the wine industry, we at Rijk's aim to give back to the industries who compliment and sell our wines, by providing inspiration to young and upcoming chefs and sommeliers.
Every two years the young sommeliers of a hotel school from Brugge in Belgium, Ter Groene Poorte, visit South-Africa to learn more about our beautiful country and our wines. This year, on their 6th visit to South Africa, the students, sommeliers as well as the teachers spent some time with us in Tulbagh. Pierre showed them around the cellar, explaining the whole winemaking process, whereafter Elaine assisted him with a detailed wine tasting of our whole award-winning range.

The feedback was very positive and we believe they left Rijk's inspired. We look forward to see how these young, aspiring chefs and sommeliers will grow and enrich our industry!

Mother Nature smiled upon the Rijk's wine harvest this year with a bountiful crop of amazing quality. The 2013 harvest has been exceptional so far with over 130 tons that have passed through the cellar so far and at least another 80 tons on it’s way!

Moderate weather throughout the growing season has put little pressure on the vines, and provided grapes with well-balanced chemistries. The later winter provided the vines with lovely wet soils and good growth. The bunch-quantities per vine are more or less the same as previous years, but overall about 20% fuller and heavier. Due to the longer winter, the earlier varieties were ripe a bit later than expected, while the later varieties are still ripening on time. This creates somewhat of a bottle-neck in the cellar, with everything being ripe at the same time and our tanks filled to the brim! We are pushed to our limit to accommodate the quantity of fruit we harvested, but I am lucky to have three exceptional cellar-hands this year, Helize, Lincoln (both South African) and Bastien (French), who helps me tremendously.

The Pinotage this year has amazing fruit intensity, yet elegant, with soft tannins and classic varietal tones of cherries and raspberries. The Chenin Blanc again is extremely aromatic, with wonderful concentration and a mélange of fruit flavors from peaches to pineapple and winter melon. The pH of the Chenin is also very low this year, so we can look forward to wines that will age really well. The smaller berries of the Shiraz this year will create wines with good colour, concentration and tannin structure.

To sum it all up; we have a bumper crop of deliciousness in our cellar and I cannot wait to see how this vintage will develop in the barrels!