Verdelho Bags 92pt Score for Org de Rac in Alternative Grape Variety Report

Monday, 15 April, 2019
Org de Rac
The second Winemag Competition for Alternative Grape Varieties saw Swartland organic producer Org de Rac score 92 points for its Verdelho 2018.

This competition, which aims to rate the standard of South African wines made from alternative grape varieties as well as to promote an awareness of their quality and presence, saw 87 wines being entered with Org de Rac achieving the second highest score in the White Wine category. In last year’s inaugural competition, the Org de Rac Roussanne 2017 also scored an enviable 92pts.

In this year’s Alternative Variety Report the Roussanne achieved 89pts.

“Verdelho is a wonderful white variety made famous by the great wines of Portugal and Madeira,” says Org de Rac cellarmaster Frank Meaker who pioneered the planting of this cultivar on Org de Rac where it is also used in the flagship white blend Die Waghuis. “It would appear that both Verdelho and Roussanne, of which there are miniscule plantings in South Africa, are doing very well on our Swartland terroir

“The rocky soils and sunny, dry climate of Piketberg where Org de Rac is situated, is ideal for this grape especially as you have a westerly breeze from the Atlantic fanning the vineyards. Org de Rac has one hectare planted to Verdelho below the Roussanne vineyard on a cooler south-facing slope with east to west row direction. The soils are of terra-rossa formation with a high percentage of shale, providing a well-drained, cool root environment.

“Verdelho is generally anearly-season ripening variety,” says Meaker, “and these grapes for the Verdelho 2018 were harvested in three separate batches between sugar levels of 20° and 23° Brix to capture the full spectrum of Verdelho flavours, from citrus zest to tropical nuances. The grapes were crushed, chilled down to 15° C and left on the skins overnight in rototanks. The juice was settled, racked and fermented dry before undergoing malolactic fermentation. A small portion was matured in used barrels and on wood staves for added complexity.”

The result, says Meaker, is a wine with fresh mineral and citrus characters as well as a seductive floral depth.

“With Roussanne and Verdelho performing so well as single variety wines, I can’t wait to see what our blended Die Waghuis White 2018 is going to taste like when it is ready for the market,” he says. “The 2017 received 94pts in the Winemag White Blends report, so expectations are great for the next release, underscoring the potential of lesser-known varieties on the South African wine scene.”

Frank Meaker
Frank Meaker

Org de Rac Verdelho
Org de Rac Verdelho

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