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Major Series Cabernet Sauvignon, Ernie Els

Ernie Els Wines
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Technical Analysis
Alcohol
13.9
Residual sugar
2.2
pH
3.74
Acidity
5.7
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Named in recognition of Ernie Els' golfing achievements, Major Series also reflects the premium nature of the wines from this South African estate.
Tasting note

Deep radiant plum. Sandalwood and cedar greet, unfurling like the pages of an old book to ink, plum, tea-leaf with a burst of fresh violets. On the palate, energetic focus and purity of cassis fruit show off this cooler than average vintage. A spine of cool, mineral acidity affirms this, acting as refreshing ballast for the sapidity of blackcurrants, dark cherries and rush of tangy pomegranate. The juicy, clean fruit is folded in by satiny tannins, that layer and dissolve into a sophisticated dry finish.

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

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 various Cabernet Sauvignon clones grown at the property were hand-picked, and great care was taken to ensure each block was processed separately. The bunches were sorted and destemmed before secondary sorting via an optical sorter took place. The whole berries were fermented in open top tanks. Premium selection grapes from selected parcels within the various clonal blocks were fermented in smaller open fermenters. Intermittent pump-overs and punch downs were done to ensure that the right flavours, aromas and tannins could be extracted from the berries. All ferments were meticulously monitored to ensure an optimal balance between flavour and tannins. After primary fermentation some tanks underwent extended maceration. Each clonal batch of Cabernet was micro-vinified in oak barrels and a small batch spent 11 months aging in terracotta before final blending and bottling took place.

AWARDS

Platter: 92 pts;
Winemag Prescient Cabernet Sauvignon Report – 93 Points (Top 10)

Technical Analysis
Alcohol
14.1
Residual sugar
3.2
pH
3.67
Acidity
6.2
Download Specification Sheet Download Full Size Images
Named in recognition of Ernie Els' golfing achievements, Major Series also reflects the premium nature of the wines from this South African estate.
Tasting note

Deep crimson going purple to the rim. Cigar box and cedar aromatics buoy a dark cherry radiance, crushed herbs - thyme and wild rosemary - cinnamon smoke, spicy vanilla pod and an undercurrent of forest berries, brambles and sappy twigs. Alpine and fresh. Red plums burst on the palate, juicy and vivid, red and black cherries fold in, supported by graphite-fresh tannins and a plummy acidity. There’s a contained vibrancy to the wine, like a singularity - a promise of evolving and complex development in the years to come.

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

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. Despite the variation in some of the blocks, good yields were brought in. 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 helps to retain moisture. The bunches developed nicely with good sugar levels and concentration of complex flavours in the grapes.

Vinification details

The various Cabernet Sauvignon clones grown at the property were hand-picked, and great care was taken to ensure each block was processed separately. The bunches were sorted and destemmed before secondary sorting via an optical sorter took place. The whole berries were fermented in open top tanks. Premium selection grapes from selected parcels within the various clonal blocks were fermented in smaller open fermenters. Intermittent pump-overs and punch downs were done to ensure that the right flavours, aromas and tannins could be extracted from the berries. All ferments were meticulously monitored to ensure an optimal balance between flavour and tannins. After primary fermentation some tanks underwent extended maceration. Each clonal batch of Cabernet was micro-vinified in oak barrels before blending and bottling took place.

Technical Analysis
Alcohol
14.4
Residual sugar
2.6
pH
3.61
Acidity
6.1
Download Specification Sheet Download Full Size Images
Named in recognition of Ernie Els' golfing achievements, Major Series also reflects the premium nature of the wines from this South African estate.
Tasting note

A fragrant unspooling of red berries, just plucked off a wintery branch, cool and incandescent. The aromas deepen to the darker tones of cassis, brambleberries and black cherries. The vivid fruit is overlaid with a hint of balsam, sketched in with woody spice, fresh cinnamon, touches of vanilla smoke and classic cigar box. The line of cassis continues onto the palate with ripe plums and succulent red cherries, the juicy fruit is enlivened further by a refreshing, natural acidity. Fine-grained, powdery tannins layer and dissolve, carrying all that fruit towards the appetisingly clean, and dry finish.

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

Vintage conditions

The 2018 harvest season will be remembered as the drought season. Ernie Els Winery is blessed to have bountiful water on the Helderberg but still needing to be careful with the amount of water use during the summer months leading up to harvest. Viticultural techniques had been progressively modified during the previous three years to help the vineyards cope optimally with the heat and limited irrigation. The drought was further buffered by a surprisingly cooler season. Due to the somewhat buffered circumstances, the vines reacted gracefully to the drought with no abnormal growth patters observed. Vine canopies were kept nice and thin for sunlight and, of course, less leaves meant less water needed. Vineyards are resilient plants and its natural instinct in drier years is to produce smaller bunches with smaller berries. Small berries are usually the start of a great wine and 2018 was no different.

Vinification details

Different hand-picked bunches of the various Cabernet Sauvignon clones, as planted on the estate, arrived at the winery, with great care taken to ensure that clones from various block were kept separate. The bunches were sorted, destemmed and berries sorted again via an optical sorter. The whole berries were then fermented in open top tanks – premium selection grapes from selected parcels within the various clonal blocks were fermented in smaller open fermenters. Intermittent pump-overs and punch downs ensured that right flavours, aromas and tannins were extracted from the berries. All ferments were meticulously monitored during fermentation to ensure the right balance between flavours and tannins were achieved. After primary fermentation some tanks underwent extended maceration if required. Each clonal batch of Cabernet was maturated separately (micro-vinified) in oak barrels before blending.

Technical Analysis
Alcohol
14.0
Residual sugar
3.2
pH
3.63
Acidity
5.9
Download Specification Sheet Download Full Size Images
Named in recognition of Ernie Els' golfing achievements, Major Series also reflects the premium nature of the wines from this South African estate.
Tasting note

Red berry fruits with classic cigar notes over crushed dried herbs, black cherry and ripe plums with red cherry freshness. The nose is inviting and fresh with a vibrant youthful energy of bouncy red fruit and an earthy undertow. The tannins are still tight, medium bodied and fresh, expressing the crystalline character of the 2017 vintage. As the wine evolves in the glass there is an attractive tension between red and black fruit with a hint of liquorice over a linear focused and dry finish. A blend of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot.

Origin
South Africa
Variety
Cabernet Sauvignon
Malolactic Fermentation
Yes
Bottle Size
75cl
Vegetarian
Yes
Winemaker
Louis Strydom
Fining Agent
Egg white
Closure
Cork
Region
Stellenbosch
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, while spring quickly passed 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, resulting in naturally reduced shoot growth. The vineyard then focused its energy on developing and ripening the small bunches, with smaller berries leading to more concentrated colour and flavour. The dry conditions also meant that both the vineyards and grapes were very healthy. 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

Different hand-picked bunches of the various Cabernet Sauvignon clones, as planted on the estate, arrived at the winery, with great care taken to ensure that clones from various block were kept separate. The bunches were sorted, destemmed and berries sorted again via an optical sorter. The whole berries were then fermented in open top tanks – premium selection grapes from selected parcels within the various clonal blocks were fermented in smaller open fermenters. Intermittent pump-overs and punch downs ensured that right flavours, aromas and tannins were extracted from the berries. All ferments were meticulously monitored during fermentation to ensure the right balance between flavours and tannins were achieved. After primary fermentation some tanks underwent extended maceration if required. Each clonal batch of Cabernet was maturated separately (micro-vinified) in oak barrels before blending.