Usually I describe “The Wilde” as my harvest pet project. Exciting harvest experiments where I can create something new, play with cultivars and try out different winemaking techniques. It is the one wine that will change with every vintage!
The maiden vintage (The Wilde 2015) started with 17 picking crates of grapes from Joanne’s then nine-year-old vineyard. Fifteen crates of Shiraz grapes and two crates of Viognier. I was curious to see what the wine could taste like if you used the winemaking process called carbonic maceration. Carbonic maceration is when you do not destem or crush the grapes before fermentation but rather cover the whole bunches with a layer of carbon dioxide. The grapes then start to ferment from the inside out and the berries burst open with beautiful flavours. Instead of letting the carbonic maceration take place in tank we used a 500 liter French oak barrel. Taking one of the heads off we stood it up and used it as a fermenter. All the grapes went in and we covered the grapes with carbon dioxide every day for two weeks.
After this period, I jumped into the barrel and gave the grapes a good stomp. The wine was allowed another week on the skins for post-maceration before we pressed it off. It matured in earthenware amphorae for two months and spent another two months in a stainless-steel tank before bottling. The result was a super unique and interesting wine full of red fruit and candy floss flavours with loads of warm spicy notes.
During the same vintage, I found a block of Durif or Petite Sirah, tucked away on a farm in the Swartland. Immediately I wanted to find out what could be made from something so rare. We took in half a ton of Petite Sirah, destemming about 80% of the grapes. It went through fermentation in a stainless-steel tank using natural wild yeast. The wine immediately had a beautiful inky black colour. After a period of post-maceration, the wine was pressed and matured in 225 liter French oak barrels for 18 months. The result was a very feminine wine with dark fruit characters and silky smooth tannins. Bottled as the sequel to “The Wilde 2015” the Petite Wilde 2015 was a huge success. (It received a gold in the Women’s Wine Awards!)
After the success of the maiden vintage and its sequel my imagination had no bounds. I sincerely hope that people will look forward expectantly to the next thrilling vintage of the “Wilde” with as much excitement and anticipation as I do.
So, what exactly is next for the Wildehurst Pet Project…
A single cultivar Swartland Tempranillo, barrel fermented Colombar, rosé MCC or skin contact white? Well that remains top secret for the moment, but hidden away in the cellar are a few very interesting wines. There are no limits to a winemaker’s imagination and that is exactly what this unique wine celebrates! I promise it is worth the wait!