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Big Easy Cabernet Sauvignon, Ernie Els

Ernie Els Wines
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Technical Analysis
Alcohol
13.8
Residual sugar
2.3
pH
3.62
Acidity
6.0
Download Specification Sheet Download Full Size Images
Big Easy Cabernet was sourced from the Helderberg region within Stellenbosch, with selected parcels from different coastal regions to complete the blend.
Tasting note

85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cinsault. Rich ruby. Fragrant aromas of Herbs de Provence, wild rosemary, bay leaf, sorrel; leafy, savoury herbs mingle with fresh cassis, new spring plums, blackberries. Elegant oaking adds hints of ash, cedar and ground cinnamon to density of black fruit. The palate is sappy and fine, proffering fresh red plums, blackcurrant, touch of cola and balsamic threaded with ripe, round tannins and a juicy core. Elegant yet structured, the firm tannins melt into a fresh and fruited finish. Offering great drinkability without sacrificing concentration.

Origin
South Africa
Variety
Cabernet Sauvignon
Malolactic Fermentation
Yes
Bottle Size
75cl
Vegetarian
Yes
Winemaker
Louis Strydom
Fining Agent
None
Closure
Screw top
Region
Stellenbosch
Vegan
Yes

Vintage conditions

The 2021 Vintage was the first vintage where the vines started to come back into their normal circadian rhythm with the rain and temperatures normalizing. This vintage started with the soil at full water holding capacity allowing the vines to bud with no
limitations. The temperatures this season were relatively hot, but had intermittent cooler days with rain. This led to stretching the ripening of the fruit to allow the ripening process to continue for longer.

Vinification details

The grapes were hand-harvested in the cool of the early morning. On the sorting table, all excess stalks and inferior berries were removed. Fermentation took place in 7-ton open-top stainless steel tanks and the wines were pumped over or punched down manually 3 to 5 times per day, ensuring maximum colour extraction from the skins. Each variety is matured separately in 2nd and 3rd fill oak barrels for 12 months before final blending and eventual bottling.

Technical Analysis
Alcohol
13.7
Residual sugar
3.7
pH
3.55
Acidity
6.0
Download Specification Sheet Download Full Size Images
Big Easy Cabernet was sourced from the Helderberg region within Stellenbosch, with selected parcels from different coastal regions to complete the blend.
Tasting note

85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cinsault. Rich fruited, with lovely intensity. Notes of graphite over nice dark brooding fruit. Attractive oak aromas, cedar, spice as well as ripe plum/dark fruit and an attractive warmth to the nose. There is an attractive herbaceousness, plus a hint of good reduction. Super youthful in appearance, almost purple edged colour. The aroma exudes a sense of quality. The palate follows, with quiet red fruit which is tangy and bright on the palate. As the wine opens the fruit and earthy notes integrate more. The wine is serious, but easy drinking with soft tannins and becomes quite juicy, yet refined. Wonderfully youthful, energetic, with a lingering graphite/lead pencil finish.

Origin
South Africa
Variety
Cabernet Sauvignon
Malolactic Fermentation
Yes
Bottle Size
75cl
Vegetarian
Yes
Winemaker
Louis Strydom
Closure
Screw top
Region
Western Cape
Vegan
Yes

Vintage conditions

The harvest period started a few weeks earlier than in 2019 as the favourable growing conditions in spring sped up bud burst and the warm, sunny summer days that followed allowed for effective grape ripening. The summer temperatures were warm but moderate and the grapes were allowed to accumulate their concentrated flavours. There was variation in some blocks but good yields overall. Sufficient rainfall in the winter months made for a promising growing season. The site is comprised of a granite mother material, with mainly Tukulu and Oakleaf soil types as well as a high clay content. This allowed for good water retention into the summer months, which helped in retaining moisture. The bunches developed nicely with good sugar levels and concentration of complex flavours in the grapes.

Vinification details

The grapes were hand-harvested in the cool of the early morning. On the sorting table, all excess stalks and inferior berries were removed. Fermentation took place in 7-ton open-top stainless steel tanks and the wines were pumped over or punched down manually 3 to 5 times per day, ensuring maximum colour extraction from the skins. Each variety is matured separately in oak barrels before final blending and eventual bottling.

Technical Analysis
Alcohol
13.4
Residual sugar
2.2
pH
3.67
Acidity
5.5
Download Specification Sheet Download Full Size Images
Big Easy Cabernet was sourced from the Helderberg region within Stellenbosch, with selected parcels from different coastal regions to complete the blend.
Tasting note

Deep ruby in colour with a pink rim, some classic dusty graphite notes, followed by oak spice, notes of plum, sour cherries, wet tobacco, crushed stone, black cherries and attractive cocoa dust. The palate follows with darker forest berry and cassis. It is juicy on the entry, but classic cabernet sauvignon with juicy fruit, and good deep flavour intensity. The fruit is balanced with vivid acidity and firm accessible yet serious and dry tannins.

Origin
South Africa
Variety
Cabernet Sauvignon
Malolactic Fermentation
Yes
Bottle Size
75cl
Vegetarian
Yes
Winemaker
Louis Strydom
Closure
Screw top
Region
Stellenbosch
Vegan
Yes

Vintage conditions

The effect of the drought still lingers in the background. The winery continue to focus in the canopy, managing water use to irrigate as little as possible to focus on quality. The 2019 season started surprisingly cool with no heat waves. One challenge that arose was the uneven bud burst, managed by selecting individual bunches during harvest followed by berry selection at the cellar. The mild stress of the vines was eased by the cooler temperatures that were experienced, allowing for smaller berries. During fruit ripening the cooler weather persisted that gave the grapes some fantastic hang time and development, which can’t normally be utilised due to fast sugar accumulation.

Vinification details

The grapes were hand-harvested in the cool of the early morning. On the sorting table, all excess stalks and inferior berries were removed. Fermentation took place in 7-ton open-top stainless steel tanks and the wines were pumped over or punched down manually 3 to 5 times per day, ensuring maximum colour extraction from the skins. Each variety is matured separately in oak barrels before final blending and eventual bottling.

Technical Analysis
Alcohol
14.2
Residual sugar
4.0
pH
3.62
Acidity
6.2
Download Specification Sheet Download Full Size Images
Big Easy Cabernet was sourced from the Helderberg region within Stellenbosch, with selected parcels from different coastal regions to complete the blend.
Tasting note

A fresh, crunchy and vibrantly-fruited palate balances the charming sweeter notes with aplomb. Opulent and deeply aromatic on the nose, there is just a hint of spice that co-mingles with the raspberry and redcurrant fruit on the palate. Light to medium bodied in structure. A blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cinsault.

Origin
South Africa
Variety
Cabernet Sauvignon
Malolactic Fermentation
Yes
Bottle Size
75cl
Vegetarian
Yes
Winemaker
Louis Strydom
Fining Agent
Egg white
Closure
Screw top
Region
Western Cape
Vegan
No

Vintage conditions

The 2018 harvest season will be remembered as the drought season. Ernie Els Wines considered themselves lucky to have bountiful water on the Helderberg. They were, however, still careful with water use during the summer months leading up to harvest and have been working hard to adapt their viticultural techniques during the past 3 years to help the vineyards cope optimally with the heat and limited irrigation. The drought was further buffered by a surprisingly cooler season that allowed the vines to react to the drought with no abnormal growth patterns observed. Vine canopies were kept thin for sunlight, and of course, less leaves meant less water needed. The vines’ natural instinct was to produce small bunches with smaller berries – usually the start of a great wine! With moderate, but warm days during December and January, the start of harvest returned to its normal date. The uninterrupted warmth during harvest also helped the bunches reach optimal ripeness while the berries steadily developed their flavours over a slightly longer period of time.

Vinification details

The grapes were handpicked in the cool of early morning. On the sorting table, all excess stalks and inferior berries were carefully removed and grape bunches were gently destalked. Fermentation took place in 7-ton, open-top stainless steel tanks. The wines were pumped-over and/or punched-down manually 3 to 5 times per day to ensure maximum colour extraction from the skins. After primary fermentation the wine was left on skins for an additional 10-16 days before pressing. Each variety was maturated separately (micro-vinified) in oak barrels before blending and eventual bottling.

Technical Analysis
Alcohol
14.4
Residual sugar
3.6
pH
3.76
Acidity
5.6
Download Specification Sheet Download Full Size Images
Big Easy Cabernet was sourced from the Helderberg region within Stellenbosch, with selected parcels from different coastal regions to complete the blend.
Tasting note

Medium bodied with a crimson core and purple edge. Elegant red fruits on the nose lead to a serious palate with gritty tannins. Notes of wet earth and tobacco blend with creamy oak, sweet spice and milk chocolate, while ripe plums and Morello cherries line the palate through to a soft, almost tropical, finish. The rich 2017 tannins will integrate over the next few years as the wine gathers more complexity.

Origin
South Africa
Variety
Cabernet Sauvignon
Malolactic Fermentation
Yes
Bottle Size
75cl
Vegetarian
Yes
Winemaker
Louis Strydom
Fining Agent
Egg white
Closure
Screw top
Region
Western Cape
Vegan
No

Vintage conditions

The previous growing season had its challenges, which seemed to roll over into the 2016/2017 growing season with the continuation of the drought. Winter 2016 was quite dry with even less rain than the previous year; spring was an illusion as the region went straight into warmer summer days. Bud burst was good due to sufficient soil moisture, but with the warmer spring/summer weather the soil started losing moisture quickly which naturally reduced shoot growth. The vineyard then naturally focused its energy on developing and ripening the small bunches. Smaller berries led to more concentrated colour and flavour. The dry conditions also led to the vineyards and grapes being very healthy overall. With moderate, but warm days during December and January the start of harvest returned to its normal date. The uninterrupted warmth during harvest also helped the bunches reach optimal ripeness while the berries steadily developed flavours over a slightly longer period of time.

Vinification details

The grapes were handpicked in the cool of early morning. On the sorting table, all excess stalks and inferior berries were carefully removed and grape bunches were gently destalked. Fermentation took place in 7-ton, open-top stainless steel tanks. The wines were pumped-over and/or punched-down manually 3 to 5 times per day to ensure maximum colour extraction from the skins. After primary fermentation the wine was left on skins for an additional 10-16 days before pressing. Each variety was maturated separately (micro-vinified) in oak barrels before blending and eventual bottling.

Technical Analysis
Alcohol
14.3
Residual sugar
2.8
pH
3.70
Acidity
5.6
Download Specification Sheet Download Full Size Images
Big Easy Cabernet was sourced from the Helderberg region within Stellenbosch, with selected parcels from different coastal regions to complete the blend.
Tasting note

The great vintage of 2015 gives the Big Easy Cabernet Sauvignon a slightly more serious side. Rich and elegant with notes of dark chocolate, cinnamon spice and ripe plums fill the glass. The palate is dark fruited, medium- to full-bodied and is complemented by hints of dried herbs and salty liquorice. Finely-etched tannins contrast juicy fruit and provide good structure and a layered finish. 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cinsaut.

Origin
South Africa
Variety
Cabernet Sauvignon
Malolactic Fermentation
Yes
Bottle Size
75cl
Vegetarian
Yes
Winemaker
Louis Strydom
Fining Agent
Egg white
Closure
Screw top
Region
Western Cape
Vegan
No

Vintage conditions

The 2015 vintage will be remembered as one of the driest and earliest in years, with a somewhat smaller wine grape harvest promising exceptional wines. Good reserves were accumulated during the post-harvest period in April and May, after which leaf fall generally occurred at the right time. A cold, wet winter led to the accumulation of sufficient cold units for the full breaking of dormancy, which contributed to even bud break. Warm weather in August resulted in earlier bud break, after which a warm, dry and windy summer kept vineyard growth under control and accelerated ripening by approximately two weeks. The dry weather also led to one of the healthiest seasons in years, with almost no losses due to diseases or rot. With the absence of the usual heat waves in most regions, cooler than usual weather in February was ideal for ripening and harvesting. Although somewhat smaller, this was one of the best, if not the best, harvests in years.

Vinification details

The grapes were handpicked in the cool of early morning, and once on the sorting table all excess stalks and inferior berries were carefully removed. Grape bunches were gently destalked with a Bucher de-stalker and lightly crushed. Fermentation took place in 7-ton, open-top stainless steel tanks with yeast WE 372 being added to the juice. The wines were pumped-over and punched-down manually three times per day ensuring maximum colour extraction from the skins. After primary fermentation the maceration period was 10 days before pressing. The wine is matured in oak barrels before blending and eventual bottling.