Beau Constantia, Cecily 2021
A single varietal release of viognier from an incredible vintage. When harvest came around, the grapes showed incredible acidity and concentration of flavour.
Golden yellow in the glass; white peach, apricot and tangerine lead on the palate, with lemon and lime to balance, and a slight salinity. Waxy and firm on the palate with lip-smacking acidity.
Delicious now, with huge potential to age.
The 2021 season started with a cold, wet, winter that filled up soil reserves and provided sufficient cold units to break dormancy. The late cooler conditions continued well into spring, delaying bud break and initial growth. October saw the moderate temperatures and sufficiently filled soil profiles leading to rapid vineyard growth and therefore the need to closely manage fungal diseases and weeds. November brought serious wind, leading to diminished flowering and fruit set, especially higher up on our steep slopes. After February, the summer growing conditions were cool and moderate with nerve wracking amounts of morning mist and high levels of humidity forcing us to sample as often as possible, practice patience, completely reverse block orders and picking in smaller batches than before, yet eventually getting the grapes into the cellar at the optimum ripeness, HEALTHY. I found that the berries were physiologically ripe at much lower sugar levels, meaning that even though sugar ripening was delayed, we could still pick for great flavor concentration on brilliant acid levels, and pull off lower alcohol wines while doing so! This vintage shows superlative ageing potential.
The 2021 CECILY is the perfect personification of the 2021 vintage. We were dumbfounded by the development of ripe flavours so early, at such high acid levels, with entirely lignified seeds and blush pink yet crunchy skins a good week ahead of what we saw in the 2020 vintage. We picked 3 different pockets over 3 weeks and all bunches were whole-bunch pressed with the resultant juice allowed to settle overnight before being racked to their various fermentation vessels. We also limited pre-fermentation sulphur dioxide use to enhance phenol polymerization and precipitation, even though we were very happy about the phenolic ripeness of the fruit. 21% of the blend fermented and matured on the gross lees in a concrete egg and the remainder 79% maturing in older French oak barriques for 8 months before bottling. With Viognier characteristically known to be medium to high alcohol with low acidity, this particular wine is a refreshing expression of the variety with a final acidity of 7.07 g/L – an increase of 1.47 g/L TA from the previous year. Remarkable, really. A coalition of soil (decomposed granite), climatic conditions (cool) and varietal characteristics provided an environment for the 2021 CECILY to realize her full potential as a Viognier. Golden yellow, one is quite surprised by the floral perfume and hints of white peach, apricot and tangerine that seduce the senses with their delicacy. On the palate an unusual equilibrium between waxy weight and a gob smacking acidity, neatly held together by our small site’s signature hint of salinity. Enjoy with simple, sweet roasted root vegetables or spicy Cape Malay curries.’
Try it with fragrant Thai curry or roasted poultry.