Cat’s Cradle 2022
Swartland Chenin blanc needs no introduction, having long assumed its place among the world’s key expressions of the grape variety. Langkloof, where we source our grapes for this wine, is an old bush vine Chenin blanc vineyard planted on the granite slopes of the Paardeberg that belongs to the Roussouw family.
An enormous amount of work goes into the vineyard during the growing season to ensure that the vineyard can carry a healthy and balanced crop. Picking is done with a clear eye on the acidity of the crop which can fall away dramatically during the harvest due to the paucity of these granite based soils.
This is a very clear and bright expression of Chenin blanc, with aromas of frangipani, yellow pear, raw honey and straw. A nuanced palate is full of ripe yellow apples, oatcakes and grapefruit rind. The finish is long, textured and pithy. This is a wine that will reward some time in the cellar to allow its full aromatic expression to develop.
Nuts & Bolts
Chenin blanc – Swartland – 44 year old vineyard on decomposed granite
Residual sugar – 1.90 g/L
Total acidity – 6.1 g/L; pH 3.31
About The Wine
A cold, wet winter and cool spring conditions set us up for a very good growing season. January showed a large swing in weather conditions with early January heatwaves causing a lot of damage to grape bunches. As usual we had to keep a good eye on the vineyards to ensure that we picked to retain sufficient acidity in the wines. Overall, our yields were a bit lower due to the necessity of sorting out damaged fruit in the vineyard, but we are happy with what was retained.
Chenin blanc on granite is something that we have worked with for all the years that we have been making our Thorne and Daughters wines, though Cat’s Cradle was only first released in 2017 as a single vineyard wine.We’ve kept our winemaking simple and natural, as we have no desire to stand between the vineyard and its expression as a wine in the glass. The grapes are whole-bunch pressed in an old basket press and there are no additions of sulphur dioxide made on the juice. A rough settling follows pressing after which the wines undergo natural alcoholic and malolactic fermentation in old oak barrels. We add some sulphur dioxide late in the winter, and then again at bottling, keeping the level of sulphur dioxide as low as possible. The result is wines that show tension without losing their suppleness and core, and wines that will reward time in the cellar.