VINTAGE 2004


The 2003 / 2004 season as regarded as one of the healthiest ever mainly due to the absence of rain. The autumn of 2003 saw some good rainfall followed by warm and dry weather conditions. The winter was rather dry than usual with low rainfall occurring in all regions.

Winter was followed by a cool spring and budding started 10 – 14 days later that usual. The season’s growth started with good vigour due to favourable weather conditions and good accumulation of reserves from autumn rainfall.

Cooler conditions in October and November resulted in longer flowering period which in turn caused uneven berry set leading to bunches not developing uniformly. This meant that a lot of green harvesting to promote even ripening. The cool climatic conditions caused the growing and ripening season conditions to be very good, but delayed everything. Ripening occurred 7 – 14 days
later than 2003.

The long hang time, with slow ripening gave the harvest great complexity, but one needed to be patient to pick at optimum ripeness. The colour of the red wine cultivars was exceptionally good and intense largely due to cool night temperatures.

So, in short, we believe we did the right things in the vineyard to get the best out of these favourable conditions. For the 2004, our Cabernet came from Annandale and Merlot from Annandale and Remhoogte. The Cabernet was harvested on the 6th April, Merlot on 26th March at around 25 balling. These were transported to the winery in bins. The grapes were then hand sorted and fermented in stainless steel, 13 days for Cabernet and 11 days for Merlot. Skin contact was 26 days for Cabernet and 31 days for Merlot. Malolactic fermentation occurred naturally in barrel.

Total time in French Oak was 18 months with 80% new Oak and 20% 2nd fill. The result is in my view a spectacular wine, giving dark chocolate with hints of ripe plum, cherries and coffee on the palate giving clean red fruit flavours with hints of spice.

The wine has big structure with a refined texture with a long refined finish. Despite the fairly warm South African climate, at Epicurean we believe it is possible to produce elegant, refined wines whilst remaining true to terroir.

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Tasting Notes:
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