#266 Piekenierskloof Tannat 2021
🔬The Tannat is vinified from a single bush vine vineyard on a north facing slope on the farm Heidedal. up at an altitude of about 700m ASL.
It ripens earlier than Cabernet, making it much more drought resistant.
Grapes are handpicked and cold soaked for 24 hours. Fermentation is initiated with selected yeast strains and is kept under 26°C. During fermentation the grape cap is punched down 3 times per day for maximum extraction. It is fermented dry on the skins and pressed off to barrel for malo-lactic fermentation. Subsequently the wine is racked into 30% new and 70% second fill and older 225L French oak barrels where it matures for 14 months.
VIDEO CHAPTER INDEX:
00:00 – AN INTRO TO WINEMAKER HENDRIEN VERCUEIL
00:37 – SOME BACKGROUND ON THE TANNAT CULTIVAR
01:04 – THE HISTORY OF TANNAT IN URUGUAY
01:44 – TANNAT IN SOUTH AFRICA
02:46 – DIFFERENT STYLES OF TANNAT AROUND THE WORLD?
04:00 – BUT WHAT DOES *THIS* TANNAT TASTE LIKE?
Tannat’s new home
Tannat is a grape indigenous to the South of France, in the Madiran AOC, where it is the dominant cultivar within the AOC. But like Malbec was adopted by Argentina, and Chenin Blanc was adopted by South Africa, Tannat is now most commonly planted in a new world country – namely Uruguay, where it has been designated as their “national grape” and takes up just short of 30% of their national vineyard.
The grape was supposedly brought to Uruguay by Basque immigrants in the 1800s, and one man in particular – Pascual Harriague – was credited as the pioneering viticulturist who recognised the potential of the grape in Uruguay. In fact, Pascual’s work with the cultivar was so significant, that it is still referred to as “Harriague” in many regions of Argentina and Uruguay. Also the Uruguayan Government initiated a National Tannat Day, celebrated each year on Pascual’s birthday. #bless.
In South Africa, we have roughly 100ha of Tannat vines of which about 70% is planted in the hot dry regions of the Swartland and Paarl. While the grape possesses all the tannic structure of a Cabernet Sauvignon (and then some) it ripens more quickly, which makes it a fair bit more drought resistant. This goes someway to explaining how it has found slightly more prominence in those warmer hotter growing regions.
Now, if you have yet to sign up for your Monthly HanDrinksSolo Wine Subscription then you’ll have to hunt this wine down in your own time. But until then, here are my tasting notes and some technical specs to give you an idea of what we’re enjoying.
👃🏼 The aromas are more generous than the schnozz on an elephant seal; notes of ripe plum, baked blackberry pie, vanilla, aniseed, and savoury white pepper spice
👄 The palate is impressively concentrated, but by no means heavy. The fruit is a combination of ripe blackberries and stewed prunes, offset by tart rubarb, segeuing into slightly bitter liquorice on the finish. The tannins are firm, but quite refined. They manage to hold everything upright, without giving the impression of being sandy or rough. A classy little number that will improve for the next five or years.
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