Since our first vintage, Haute Cabrière has specialised in the exploration of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes.
After 35 harvests, we continue to love this magical time of year and the promise of a new vintage. As thunder and rain mid-March heralded the start of Autumn, the team at Haute Cabrière is busy picking the last of the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes for the 2022 vintage, and we’re sharing how this year’s harvest has unfolded…
Harvesting great wines in 2022
This year, our harvest began the last week of January – far later than usual. This was because of a cold and wet winter (with plenty of snow on Franschhoek’s mountains), followed by a cool and damp spring which extended well into December. Our vines benefitted from these colder conditions with grapes ripening slowly developing more complex flavours and promising well-structured wines, whilst maintaining a low pH. While we awaited the beginning of harvest, our cellar wrapped up some important work from the 2021 vintage with the bottling of the Pinot Noir Réserve 2021 in early January after it spent 10 months in barrel. This is fast becoming one of my personal favourite wines from the Haute Cabrière Range.
The second week of February brought a drastic change in weather and a severe heat wave descended on the winelands accelerating the ripening of the grapes. Our teams leapt into action and picking began soon after. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes for the Pierre Jourdan Range of Cap Classique were picked first, ensuring the correct sugar concentration, acidity and balance in the grapes for exceptional Cap Classique production.
Over the past few weeks, tonnes of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir have passed through our cellar for the three ranges produced by Haute Cabrière. We have been thrilled with the quality we have seen to date, and the intense flavour concentration of this year’s yield. Our teams are harvesting the last of the grapes for the 2022 vintage over the next couple of weeks. Our Pinot Noir grapes for the reserve and Haute Collection wines are being allowed a little longer to ripen to ensure full potential of sugar and flavour.
We talk about the terroir of a wine being its foundation, and terroir is greatly affected by Mother Nature. Each year the vines experience a unique combination of elements, and therefore each vintage is unique. This will always present challenges. This year, our challenge came in the form of sunburn on some of our grapes as a result of the extreme heatwaves in the valley. Thankfully, we have a strong and focused team who paid close attention to the health of the grapes and ensured that any damaged grapes were removed.
We are, once again, expecting a great vintage this year. The tanks are filling up and the unique sweet smell of vigorously fermenting young wines fills our underground cellar, wafting upstairs to our bakery and tasting room for a hint at the activity going on below. Our vineyard and wine teams are very satisfied with the progress of the harvest, and we are so grateful for their hard work and dedication during this harvest season. Takuan, Tim and Jasmine have been managing the intake across our two cellars and begun the vinification process. Herman, Albertus and Aslam have cared for this vintage on the vines since April 2021 from careful pruning, to canopy management, harvesting and ensuring vineyard health. And then we have our broader harvest, vineyard and cellar teams who have worked tirelessly to ensure a successful vintage. A huge thank you to you all for your passion and skill!
Looking ahead this year
Besides the satisfaction of a successful harvest, we are enjoying the return of overseas visitors in person at Haute Cabrière! It has been wonderful to hear the tinkle of laughter and chatter in a dynamic array of accents and languages filtering throughout our restaurant, wine tasting cellar and bakery as guests enjoy a perfect holiday in the sunny and beautiful Cape. We love to have you with us.
With many of our family and friends in Europe, we hope that peace may return soon, and our thoughts remain with all the families who have been uprooted and affected during this time.
A sincere thank you for your loyal and longstanding support! We cannot wait to share the 2022 wines with you. At Haute Cabrière, 2022 marks 40 years since Achim identified the small Franschhoek farm of ‘Clos Cabriere’ as our family’s opportunity to produce a top-quality Cap Classique from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, to rival the Champagne houses of France. With the second generation now guiding the estate, we are excited for not just the 2022 vintage, but what the future holds for Haute Cabrière.
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