Durbanville Hills Cellar News - September 2013

Monday, 30 September, 2013
Durbanville Hills Cellar
Arriving back at the cellar after visits to England, Scotland and Germany, I thought I had the day wrong as the parking area was strangely deserted for a busy Monday morning.
It was only when I got to my office that I understood why, for on my desk was a pack of leave applications from staff members who took off the Monday before the public holiday on the Tuesday to turn what would be an ordinary weekend into an extra long weekend. Can’t turn your back, I mumbled to myself.

I arrived back on an overcast Saturday and could therefore not see the aftermath of the inclement weather of the week before. As I drove to the shops the next morning to restock my larder, the weather had cleared and I could see the thick layer snow blanketing the mountain tops – no wonder it felt as if every fridge in the neighbourhood had been left open during the night. I guess the Weather Office would in its usual manner describe it as"normal for this time of the year". Normal my foot!

The possible effects of the cold weather on budding bothered me so much that I abandoned my shopping and set off to the nearest Chardonnay vineyard to see what was happening. Thank goodness they had already started budding. At the same time I realised they would have to be sprayed soon as the fragile young shoots are very susceptible to mildew.However, the soil was soggy under foot and I knew any tractor sent into a vineyard now with spraying equipment would simply get stuck.

It reminded me of a similar situation a few years ago when driving to town,I spotted a tractor stuck in a vineyard close to the road. On my return it was still there but now, close to it, a rescue tractor sent in to help was also stuck in the mud. Driving home that evening I could not help but notice that there was now a second rescue tractor which got stuck trying to pull the other two out. I couldn’t resist the temptation to phone the farmer and ask him why there were three tractors stuck in his vineyard. "Sorry," he said, "there would have been more but I ran out of tractors."

He was obviously not going to be caught like that again for on the Monday morning there were the workers in the vineyards with portable spraying equipment protecting the young growth that will spawn the new vintage.

Wine show season
Results from various wine shows are trickling in and, if any proof was needed, confirmed again how well suited our cool hills are to Sauvignon Blanc. At the Michelangelo International Wine Awards two of our wines of this varietal were given Gran d’Or medals (called Double Gold by most winemakers and "Grênd Gold" by some of the oldies!). The wines in question are the 2013 Rhinofields Sauvignon Blanc and the Rhinofields Sauvignon Blanc Noble Late Harvest. It was the latter’s debut wine show.It followed up on this success a week later by receiving a "Gold Outstanding" award at the International Wine and Spirits Competition in London.

The 2012 Rhinofields Sauvignon Blanc, the 2013 Durbanville Hills Sauvignon Blanc and the 2011 Rhinofields Merlot all received gold medals. The Rhinofields Merlot is no stranger to medals and a quick calculation shows that Merlot is still ahead as our most awarded varietal,but that Sauvignon Blanc is now quickly closing the gap.The 2012 Rhinofields Sauvignon Blanc also made its way into the FNB Sauvignon Blanc Top 20 line-up. After the announcement of the results of the Veritas Awards on the first Saturday in October we get a break from local wine shows until the same time next year... feels pretty much like the exam time!

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