Gerhard’s 2021 Flagstone Vintage Update – 4 February

The last 12 months have been an immensely challenging period for the South African wine industry and that is also true for Flagstone. We are very grateful that we are once again able to sell our delicious wines to our loyal followers. We thank each of you for helping us keep our doors open and, in so doing, enabling us to keep doing what we love, to make the unique and interesting wines that we are so passionate about.

The COVID risk is not over and we have put a lot of extra precautionary measures in place to enable our team in the cellar to be able to complete harvest while keeping everyone safe. We also have strict measures in place to protect our clients and our tasting room staff and we request that you bear with us when you come to the tasting room and need to be put through safety protocols that include temperature checks and sanitisation measures.

The 2021 vintage is starting slowly and late. We had a relatively cold and wet winter, and the growing season started a week or two later than usual. Due to the hot and dry seasons we had in recent years some soils have become brackish. The frequent rains flush these slats from the root zone, which is very beneficial to soil and vine health. This summer is relatively cool, we had only a few warm days in December and January and therefore the ripening of the grapes is about 7 – 10 days later than usual.

With the current cooler climate, we have a longer “hang time” – this is the ripening period that is instrumental in phenolic ripeness and we are looking forward to a great season. On Monday, we picked our first grapes from the coastal region, old bush vine Chenin Blanc that is destined for our Tributary Chenin Blanc. On Wednesday we completed a three-hour bunch sorting to ensure only the best quality bunches end up in the destemmer before making their way to the press.

We will pick more Chenin later in the week and then, in the following week, we will begin picking Pinotage from Agter Paarl for Truth Tree Pinotage and Pinot Noir from Darling destined for Fiona Pinot Noir.

In other exciting news, we have added some new blocks to the list of vineyards we have been working with for the last 10 years. There is some really exceptional fruit coming from these blocks, particularly from the Swartland.

On the wine side, we are blending the 2020 vintage Truth Tree Pinotage which is immensely popular, having outsold its forecast by some distance. We need to get the 2020 vintage safely in bottles before the entire cellar is filled with fermentation yeast. We estimate that we will release the 2020 vintage in May this year and the fruit in this wine is of exceptional quality.