Viticultural and Winemaking Philosophies
Cabernet Sauvignon vines are grown on the vineyard at Coomealla to traditional French cropping levels of 2-3 tonnes per acre and are subjected to strong ‘deficit irrigation’ principles between veraison and harvesting. Our viticultural philosophies allow the manipulation of vine physiology, grape development and berry size. These attributes minimise the requirement for chemical application to produce sound fruit and all are vital in concentrating the naturally occurring aroma and flavour compounds associated with the magnificent Cabernet Sauvignon grape.
The vineyard is planted on a red sandy-clay-loam topsoil which is nutrient rich and allows for excess soil water drainage and promotes a favourable deep root system development enabling the vine to utilise nutrient and moisture from deep down in the soil matrix. There is a calcium carbonate or limestone layer below the 1.5 to 2.5 metre deep topsoil which assists in maintaining the soil pH balance and below that is a heavier yellow to grey clay layer which plays an important role in retaining moisture and nutrient for the vine to access during the deficit irrigation strategy adopted.
The vines are planted on a slight hill with a southern aspect in 3m row spacing and 3m vine spacing providing a low density plantation while promoting desirable conditions for sunlight interception and sufficient air-flow through the canopy to reduce and discourage many pest and disease pressures.
The East-West row orientation further optimises the photosynthetic potential of the vine and increases rootzone activity as the arc of the summer sun follows the vine row throughout the day. The canopy captures the light that is essential for sugar accumulation, but protects the precious berries from sunburn as dappled light penetrates through the vine framework hitting the ground.
Light and heat energy that is absorbed by the red earth during the day then radiates back through the vineyard in the hours after sunset regulating the diurnal temperature fluctuation reducing stress and temperature shock on the vine.
Grapes are harvested and transported to SA for vinification, under the skilled eye of Director / Vigneron John Gledhill, a now well regarded craftsman in Oenology.
Vinification takes place in small open fermenters, the grapes are fermented dry with extended skin contact to maximise colour extraction before transfer to French Oak barrels for malo-lactic fermentation for a further 18 months.
Flavour and colour extraction is achieved by a combination of plunging and pumping over of the cap three to four times per day which is determined solely by twice daily ferment tasting. During these tastings, the wine is analysed for sugar metabolism and alcohol production, wine pH and acidity and yeast nutrient requirements. Additions to the ferment may be made at John’s discretion to maintain optimum fermentation conditions or to modify the balance of flavour, aroma, structure and texture of the wine.
After fermentation and suitable extended maceration, the grapes are basket pressed over a 12 hour cycle combining traditional, old world techniques with new world, modern day equipment and facilities to ensure quality and integrity is maintained through good hygiene and safe work practices.
The pressed wine is left to settle and clarify overnight in a stainless steel vat before being racked off gross ferment lees to barrel for the duration of the secondary Malo-Lactic fermentation (MLF) which softens the acidity of the palate as malic acid is metabolised to lactic acid.
At the conclusion of MLF, the wine is carefully racked out of barrel off “malo lees” to a holding tank, where antioxidant and any required post fermentation additions can be made to keep the wine protected from oxidation during the maturation phase of the wine’s development.
The barrels are high pressure washed with hot water, left to drain and dry out overnight so as dilution of the wine does not occur and then refilled with the wine to begin maturing.
The wine will then develop and evolve in a constant temperature barrel shed over the next 18 months when each barrel is tasted and assessed for quality parameters and blending potential. All of the barrels are graded, the best of these are identified, isolated and blending options are assessed in the tasting room in a process of trial and error to determine the absolute best possible blend of whole or part barrels that give the richest, fullest and most balanced final wine.
The proportions of each chosen barrel are then transferred into a holding tank once again before being dispatched to Torresan Estate bottling hall, a state of the art wine bottling facility in McLaren Vale that specialises in packaging and warehousing of premium bottled wine. The integrity and longevity of Gledhill Vignerons wine (as with all wine) is very much reliant upon the quality of the final packaging of the product, and it is for this reason that we choose to have our wine bottled and packaged by the Torresan family and their staff at Torresan Estate in McLaren Vale.
This packaged wine is then stored in the temperature controlled barrel shed alongside our growing stack of barrels, until requested by you the consumer, when we authorise the dispatch of the wine which is delivered to your nominated address by courier, if not personally delivered by any of the Gledhill Vignerons family where we can.
Our Story Becomes Your Story
Here is where the Gledhill Vignerons story becomes your story as you open a bottle of our wine and enjoy a glass of our dreams and passion. We hope you find the wine a pleasure to drink and have attained some understanding of the efforts made by our family in bringing this wine to you.
Thank you for your support and we hope you enjoy our wine.
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