Rustenberg Newsletter - Summer 2004

Tuesday, 14 December, 2004
Simon Barlow reports.....
Dear friends, Preparation for Harvest is in full swing and we’re all looking forward to the infectious excitement brought on by gathering the fruits of our labour. I say this having recently tasted through the 2004 reds in barrel with Adi. An absolutely superb vintage! We also have high expectations for the 2005 vintage. Nico sheds more light on the current preparation work being done in our vineyards, see below. The 2005 John Platter South African Wine Guide has reached us and looks good in its pink livery. We’ve been privileged to receive some good ratings. Amongst which, the 4 ½ Stars earned by the 2002 John X Merriman and Peter Barlow stands out. We are delighted that the American ‘Wine Spectator’ magazine recently awarded Brampton Sauvignon Blanc 2004 with 86 points. Share this wine with friends during your summer holiday. Serve well chilled with any of the following; linefish, mussels, prawns, poultry dishes, fresh asparagus or goats cheese. Read more about Bernette Boonzaaier - he is a new asset to the team and supports Elreda in our Tasting Centre. I know they both, like me, look forward to welcoming you to the farm. Rozanne, my precious wife, has completed the new garden at Rustenberg after nearly two years’ preparation, propagation and planting. It is indeed a tranquil setting – I’ve often observed one of the team gathering their thoughts or unwinding in the garden’s beautiful and enticing peace. Rozanne and I were very fortunate to be taken up in a friend’s helicopter recently from which I was able to take a picture of the garden. Hope you like the pic? More detail of this garden will follow in a future newsletter, but in the meantime, please feel free to visit it and walk the Chartre-style labyrinth or witness the Khoi Fish enjoying their new pond. Well, all that’s left of me to say is, on behalf of Rozanne, myself, my two sons, Peter and Murray, and the team at Rustenberg, have a wonderful, peaceful and safe Holiday Season and be sure to pop in if you’re in the Stellenbosch area. Kind greetings, Simon Barlow CANOPY MANAGEMENT “It’s all about canopy management, canopy management and canopy management at this stage of the game”, so says Nico, our intrepid Viticulturist. Nico, his foremen and team prepared for the arduous task of ensuring that Harvest 2005 will be a great one. Nico and his vineyard team started pruning the naked vines towards the end of August and then by mid-September the canopy management task began in all earnest. This task involves the manipulation of the vineyard canopy (leaves and canes) to allow just the right amount of sunlight to penetrate the canopy so that the grapes receive the perfect amount of exposure to the sun’s rays. All cover-crops between the vines are mowed and maintained to allow them to extract moisture from the soil, enabling Nico and his team to manage the amount of stress the vines can handle - “good” moisture stress contributes to the development of concentrated flavours and colour for the berries. In-between the canopy management process, the viticultural team apply eco-friendly spraying to prevent mildew - this takes place every 10 - 14 days during the growing season. At the beginning of January, at the onset of veraison, the crops will be thinned down to the desired crop levels and at that stage it is preferred that the rain stays away until after harvest, but in sympathy with the incredible need for more rain to fill the country’s dams. Nico says that if an ideal temperature can be “ordered”, for the daytime, he’d settle for 25ºC. By late January / early February Harvest can begin! WE WELCOME..... Bernette Boonzaaier joined Rustenberg, more specifically, our Tasting Centre team in September this year. He was born and bred in Franschhoek and matriculated at Groendal Secondary School. Work experience was gained at L’Ormarins Private Cellar, where he was employed for approximately 6 years. He has also completed the Preliminary Wine Course at the Cape Wine Academy and tells us that his passions in life are wine & people. Bernette’s favourite hobby is Computer Technology and when it comes to sport, he loves Rugby – more watching than playing nowadays. If you think this is a handsome picture… the man is taken! Happily married and father to a little girl. You’ll meet Bernette in our Tasting Centre and we trust that you will be as bowled-over by his enthusiastic, friendly and sincere nature as we are! SOMETHING SPECIAL Not excluding our current range of wines (find Cellardoor pricelist attach) we have some ideas on how you can fill your Christmas stockings. Rustenberg 1997 John X Merriman (Magnum 1,5 L) and Rustenberg Non Vintage Brut A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Cabernet Franc. Black cherries, violets & pencil shavings character combine for a complex aroma. A well balanced palate with elegant, mature tannins ensures for optimum drinking now but can be matured for a further 3-5 years. A blend of Pinot Noir & Chardonnay. Created in the tradition of ‘Méthode Cap Classique’. Lemon and yeast characters on the nose follow through to the palate with a hint of quince and finishes with a fine & refreshing mousse. Just right for those New Year’s celebrations, not that you need an occasion! Thanking you for you loyal support throughout the year and wishing you Happy Holidays and everything of the best for 2005.