CRAVEN WINES

2017 CHENIN BLANC

The grapes from this vineyard were historically sold off to Distell, the prestigious creator of Two Oceans. Fortunately, when the son of the previous owner took over, he opened up sales to smaller producers instead. Despite this history, the 35-year-old radial-bush-vines were never chemically farmed. The east facing site features typical granitic soils. The grapes are whole-cluster pressed into neutral puncheon where they slowly ferment for months. After additional lees ageing and racking, the wine is bottled. 12% ABV

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2017 CLAIRETTE BLANCHE

This vineyard was once economically impossible to farm; the owner was only able to get 1000 Rand per ton of fruit ($108 CAD) from the local co-op. When Mick started buying some of the fruit it wasn’t even being farmed, but now that the venture is viable, they’re putting more work into maintenance. The 35-year-old vines are planted on decomposed sandy granite. 60% of the grapes were destemmed and fermented on the skins for 12 days. The other 40% was directly pressed into neutral tonneau. 11% ABV

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2017 PINOT GRIS 

Pinot Gris is not widely planted in Stellenbosch making this a relative rarity. These young vines are planted on an interesting sedimentary rock, cemented into a duricrust by iron oxides. Locally this red soil is called Koffieklip or Coffee Stone. These are usually the first grapes to come into the winery in early January. Their first vintage of this wine was made exclusively for personal consumption, but fortunately they have expanded. The wine is fermented in open top tank with about 10% whole-cluster inclusion. After just over a week on skins, it is pressed off into old oak barrels. 13% ABV

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2017 FAURE PINOT NOIR

Jeanine Craven’s family once owned this 450ha estate but sold it off before Mick could get his hands on the fruit. The Pinot Noir block is South-East facing, no more than 4km from False Bay making it a deceptively cool site. Clone 115 was planted in 1998 on decomposed sandy granite with a cool clay subsoil. They have to pick quite early or else the fruit develops a jammy profile or worse, gets botrytis. 100% whole-clusters were fermented in open-top tanks. The fruit is gently crushed by foot and no punch-downs are performed during fermentation. The wine is then pressed off into neutral oak. 12% ABV

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2017 CRAVEN FAURE SYRAH

2017 FAURE SYRAH

This east facing block of Syrah faces the Helderberg Mountain and is constantly cooled by the ocean. Clone 22 was planted in 1995 on a rocky soil composed of granite, dolorite, quartz, and shale. The grapes are harvested quite early and fermented as whole-clusters with gentle foot crushing. The wine is then aged in neutral puncheons for ten months before racking and bottling. 11.5% ABV

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2017 CRAVEN FIRS SYRAH

2017 FIRS SYRAH

This wine was created as a juxtaposition to the Faure Syrah. They found this site in the Devon Valley, planted on richer red clay instead of the traditional granite. The vines are really vigorous but because of the warmer sub-climate, they feel like these vines are in a really healthy balance. The fruit tends to come in a full week before the Faure Syrah is ready, and at a slightly higher brix level. Winemaking between the two Syrah sites is identical: whole-cluster fermentation, light foot crushing, and ten-month élevage in neutral puncheon before racking and bottling. 12% ABV

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2017 CRAVEN CINSAULT
 

2017 CINSAULT

Last year, Mick released his first Cinsault, a grape he’s particularly excited about doing justice in South Africa. Sadly, the farmer had to return to his contract with Distell, so it was a one off. Fortunately, one of their other farmers proposed another site planted on sandy granite near the ocean. Serendipity yet again. These bush-vines are dry farmed and tend to yield grapes with higher acid than their previous vineyard. Wine making is the same as for their Syrah cuvées: whole-clusters, foot crushing, neutral barrels. 12% ABV

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