A well integrated team effort ...

Monday, 26 April, 2004
L’Ormarins Harvest Report 2004
The 2004 harvest was a considerably more challenging season, characterized by below average winter rainfall, milder temperatures, uneven budding and occasional, late, cold bouts towards the end of winter. These factors led to slower ripening and subsequently a later harvest than in 2003.

There are a number of wineries that will still be busy harvesting late in April, as a direct result of the above-mentioned phenomenon. The favourable outcome of the above, however, was a lower than anticipated yield with reference to actual crop size.

In total, L’Ormarins cellar received and processed 980 tons, 450 of which were white grapes and 530 red. As in 2003, the grapes harvested in 2004 showed excellent phenolic ripeness due to the slower ripening process, with lower sugar levels (degrees Balling). On the downside, however, uncharacteristically hot days were experienced in early January 2004, resulting in sunburn damage to some delicate white varietals such as Sauvignon Blanc.

With regard to factors such as vineyard diseases, the 2004 harvest was relatively disease-free (unlike 2003, when unprecedented problems with downy mildew and grey rot were encountered). As a result of this, the vineyard canopy and execution of good vineyard practices were easier to manage during this harvest.

As far as vinification is concerned, according to L’Ormarins winemaker Riaan van der Spuy, the produce of this harvest shows very typical varietal characteristics in both white and red grapes. The exception this season, however, is the Sauvignon Blanc, which shows more of the tropical fruit flavours in 2004 rather than the green elements which were characteristic of the 2003 vintage.

With reference to the red grape varietals, brilliant colour intensity was obtained with beautiful legs (referring, in this instance, to the alcohol levels!) as well as intense, dark-berry fruit flavours.

In summary, the 2004 harvest shows tremendous potential. In the case of the white wines, the drier conditions and milder winter temperatures have resulted in more integrated and harmonious flavour components, showing a great deal of finesse and elegance on both nose and palate. In the reds, the lower yields are reflected in intense berry flavour characteristics with firm tannin structures and good natural acidity levels. These factors bode well for the red wines, given the greater complexity that they will acquire with further wood and bottle maturation.

It is, once again, important to acknowledge the role played by the viticulturists in the practices implemented in the vineyard. In an unusually dry season like winter 2003, things such as canopy management are critically important in rendering good quality, balanced (fruit) material. This impacts directly on the quality of the material with which the winemakers must work in the cellar.

To quote an expression often heard: ‘Good wine begins or is made in the vineyard’. On that note we propose a toast to a well-integrated team effort!

Issued by: L'Ormarins
Tel: +27 (0) 21 874-1026
Email: tasting@lormarins.co.za