Twenty-two months in twenty-four percent new French oak barrique, with the balance in older French oak. Series M 2018 consists of Merlot (forty-five percent), Malbec (forty-one percent), Cabernet Sauvignon (thirteen percent) and Cabernet Franc (one percent). Sixty-eight barrels were produced.
Phoenix rising. Marked by the worst drought on record, 2018 presented some significant challenges. After the driest three-year period (2015–2017) in recent history, water resources in the Western Cape were at an all-time low, putting water supplies under immense pressure and leading to strict water rationing. Early in the growing season, water received from the Berg River Water Scheme was cut to forty-five percent of usual allocation, and then further cut to twenty percent in December. Low soil moisture in Spring, and limited water available for irrigation led to reduced vigour and canopy size. Some unseasonable rain and low temperatures in October and November disrupted fruit set and reduced the number and size of berries on each cluster. Harvest timing was normal, beginning on February 2nd and continued uninterrupted through February 27th. It was humbling to see how well our vineyards fared under such sustained drought conditions. The 2018 vintage saw yields contract by twenty-four percent, following a generous 2017 crop. Noteworthy is the small berry size for this vintage; on average, berries were twenty-five percent smaller by variety and largely under a gram per berry. The wines of the vintage show concentration of flavour, richness and structure, promising longevity
in the cellar.