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Five Soldiers Chardonnay, Rustenberg

Rustenberg
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Technical Analysis
Alcohol
13.3
Residual sugar
2.6
pH
3.41
Acidity
5.6
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The Five Soldiers vineyard is named after five tall stone pine trees known as the 'Five Soldiers' that tower over this site at Rustenberg.
Tasting note

Characters of ripe citrus, melon and peach with great minerality, rounded out by well-judged oaking. A very complex wine with a long and creamy finish and a good acid backbone.

Origin
South Africa
Variety
Chardonnay
Malolactic Fermentation
Yes
Bottle Size
75cl
Vegetarian
No
Winemaker
Murray Barlow
Fining Agent
Isinglass & Bentonite
Closure
Screw top
Region
Simonsberg-Stellenbosch
Vegan
No

Vintage conditions

The winter of 2021 was very cold and wet following a warm autumn. Bud burst was late and the cold, wet weather continued into Spring, requiring careful disease and canopy management. The cool, wet weather extended until the middle of December. These cold conditions meant that the white varietals had very healthy acid levels going into the harvest, while the abundance of water increased yields. From the middle of December onwards the weather warmed up considerably with three heatwaves being experienced in January and one in February. This warm weather helped to ripen the fruit fully and we picked slightly later than average. 2022, like 2021, is an excellent white wine vintage. It has the freshness of the cool growing season combined with the fruit expression of a warm end to the vintage and moderate alcohols thanks to the higher yields. The marathon vintage ended in late April and was the biggest and longest vintage in Rustenberg’s history.

Vinification details

After hand harvesting, the grapes were whole bunch pressed before fermentation in 300L French oak Hogshead barrels (70% new, 30% second fill) using wild yeasts. The wine underwent full malolactic fermentation and was aged on its lees for 15 months before bottling in June 23.

AWARDS
IWC 2024 Silver
IWC: Silver
IWSC: Silver
Technical Analysis
Alcohol
13.5
Residual sugar
2.3
pH
3.49
Acidity
5.7
Download Specification Sheet Download Full Size Images
The Five Soldiers vineyard is named after five tall stone pine trees known as the 'Five Soldiers' that tower over this site at Rustenberg.
Tasting note

Characters of ripe citrus, melon and peach with great minerality, rounded out by well-judged oaking. A very complex wine with a long and creamy finish and a good acid backbone.

Origin
South Africa
Variety
Chardonnay
Malolactic Fermentation
Yes
Bottle Size
75cl
Vegetarian
No
Winemaker
Murray Barlow
Fining Agent
Isinglass & Bentonite
Closure
Screw top
Region
Stellenbosch
Vegan
No

Vintage conditions

The 2021 vintage was produced with the challenges of COVID-19 ever present. The winter of 2020 started late after a warm autumn and was cold with plenty of rain. The cool and wet conditions extended well into spring, through summer and much of the harvest season. The result of these conditions was slow, steady, stress-free vineyard growth and fruit development. White grape yields were lower than average due to the impact of the weather during critical stages in fruit development. The white wines from the vintage ripened two weeks later than in 2020 and achieved full ripeness at lower sugar levels; producing wines with lower alcohols, excellent acidity and brilliant flavour development. These well-structured wines, with moderate alcohols and good acidity, should show plenty of potential to age.

Vinification details

After hand harvesting, the grapes were whole bunch pressed before fermentation in 300L French oak Hogshead barrels (70% new, 30% second fill) using wild yeasts. The wine underwent full malolactic fermentation and was aged on its lees for 15 months.

Technical Analysis
Alcohol
13.5
Residual sugar
2.3
pH
3.53
Acidity
5.4
Download Specification Sheet Download Full Size Images
The Five Soldiers vineyard is named after five tall stone pine trees known as the 'Five Soldiers' that tower over this site at Rustenberg.
Tasting note

Characters of ripe citrus, melon and peach with great minerality, rounded out by well-judged oaking. A very complex wine with a long and creamy finish and a good acid backbone.

Origin
South Africa
Variety
Chardonnay
Malolactic Fermentation
Yes
Bottle Size
75cl
Vegetarian
No
Winemaker
Murray Barlow
Fining Agent
Isinglass & Bentonite
Closure
Screw top
Region
Stellenbosch
Vegan
No

Vintage conditions

The 2020 vintage will be remembered as a good vintage produced under the spectre of the COVID-19 pandemic impacting the globe. Fortunately the harvest at Rustenberg was not affected by the government-sanctioned lockdowns, allowing all fruit to be picked and processed when ripe. A good winter in 2019 saw a return to average rainfall for the year. Two unusual weather events in the growing season, a large rainstorm and a heat wave, impacted some varietals flowering and berry set, however, in the context of the entire vintage these had a minor impact. Crop levels were up by 15% from the 2019 vintage, which saw a return to yields being average to slightly above average for most varietals. Quality wise, the white wines have superb acids and more moderate alcohols with wonderful fruit concentration.

Vinification details

After hand harvesting, the grapes were whole bunch pressed before fermentation in 300L French oak Hogshead barrels (70% new, 30% second fill) using wild yeasts. The wine underwent full malolactic fermentation and was aged on its lees for 15 months.

Technical Analysis
Alcohol
13.5
Residual sugar
2.8
pH
3.41
Acidity
5.6
Download Specification Sheet Download Full Size Images
The Five Soldiers vineyard is named after five tall stone pine trees known as the 'Five Soldiers' that tower over this site at Rustenberg.
Tasting note

Carefully-selected Chardonnay bunches are hand harvested for this special wine and then given royal treatment in the cellar. Characters of ripe citrus, melon and peach with great minerality are rounded out by well-judged oaking. A very complex wine with a long and creamy finish and a good acid backbone.

Origin
South Africa
Variety
Chardonnay
Malolactic Fermentation
Yes
Bottle Size
75cl
Vegetarian
No
Winemaker
Murray Barlow
Fining Agent
Isinglass, Bentonite
Closure
Screw top
Region
Simonsberg-Stellenbosch
Vegan
No

Vintage conditions

The 2019 vintage was a challenging one for the Rustenberg team. While the winter of 2018 was a welcome break from the previous four winters of drought, most vineyards had not fully recovered and produced below average yields. A warm snap in June and a wet spring, coupled with a wetter than average summer harvesting season made 2019 a challenge, with some late harvest thinning or multiple harvests of the same vineyard required to achieve uniformity. Early and mid-season ripening varieties performed well, all achieving flavour ripeness at lower alcohol levels, while late ripening varieties required patience and extended time on the vines, again achieving lower alcohols overall, but creating ripe, structured wines.

Vinification details

After hand harvesting, the grapes were whole bunch pressed before fermentation in 300L French oak Hogshead barrels (70% new, 30% second fill) using wild yeasts. The wine underwent full malolactic fermentation and was aged on its lees for 15 months.

Technical Analysis
Alcohol
13.5
Residual sugar
3.1
pH
3.30
Acidity
5.5
Download Specification Sheet Download Full Size Images
The Five Soldiers vineyard is named after five tall stone pine trees known as the 'Five Soldiers' that tower over this site at Rustenberg.
Tasting note

Carefully-selected Chardonnay bunches are hand harvested for this special wine and then given royal treatment in the cellar. Characters of ripe citrus, melon and peach with great minerality are rounded out by well-judged oaking. A very complex wine with a long and creamy finish and a good acid backbone.

Origin
South Africa
Variety
Chardonnay
Malolactic Fermentation
Yes
Bottle Size
75cl
Vegetarian
No
Winemaker
Murray Barlow
Fining Agent
Isinglass, Bentonite
Closure
Screw top
Region
Stellenbosch
Vegan
No

Vintage conditions

This vintage was impacted by the fourth year of the ongoing drought in the region. The 2017 winter was cold and dry, followed by a dry spring and summer, with bouts of unusual weather. A number of thunderstorms resulted in a late onset of additional vigour in the vineyards. Unsettled weather and wind during flowering, along with a freak hail storm and low levels of soil moisture decreased yields by 20% to 50%. The harvest began closer to its average start date and the smaller berries and bunches yielded lower juice volumes per ton. The lower yields resulted in the wines showing excellent concentration and body, producing rich, robust reds and fruit forward, expressive whites and rosés.

Vinification details

After hand harvesting, the grapes were whole bunch pressed before fermentation in 300L French oak Hogshead barrels (70% new, 30% second fill) using wild yeasts. The wine underwent full malolactic fermentation and was aged on its lees for 15 months.

Technical Analysis
Alcohol
13.5
Residual sugar
2.0
pH
3.37
Acidity
5.5
Download Specification Sheet Download Full Size Images
The Five Soldiers vineyard is named after five tall stone pine trees known as the 'Five Soldiers' that tower over this site at Rustenberg.
Tasting note

Carefully-selected Chardonnay bunches are hand harvested for this special wine and then given royal treatment in the cellar. Characters of ripe citrus, melon and peach with great minerality are rounded out by well-judged oaking. A very complex wine with a long and creamy finish and a good acid backbone.

Origin
South Africa
Variety
Chardonnay
Malolactic Fermentation
Yes
Bottle Size
75cl
Vegetarian
No
Winemaker
Murray Barlow
Fining Agent
Isinglass
Closure
Cork
Region
Stellenbosch
Vegan
No

Vintage conditions

The winter of 2016 was dry but cold as drought conditions persisted in the Western Cape. Despite the drought, a warm, dry spring and little wind meant that there was little disease pressure and little stress on the vineyards beyond the heat. Harvest started slightly earlier than usual but was 10 days later than the record early start of the 2016 vintage. Careful use of irrigation to offset the dry drought conditions and cold nights experienced during the first four months of the year resulted in superb quality, and wonderful acidity, colour and flavour concentration in the wines. Indications are that 2017 will be an excellent vintage with plenty of potential to age well.

Vinification details

After hand harvesting, the grapes were whole bunch pressed before fermentation in 300L French oak Hogshead barrels (70% new, 30% second fill) using wild yeasts. The wine underwent full malolactic fermentation and was aged on its lees for 15 months.

Technical Analysis
Alcohol
13.5
Residual sugar
2.3
pH
3.34
Acidity
5.4
Download Specification Sheet Download Full Size Images
The Five Soldiers vineyard is named after five tall stone pine trees known as the 'Five Soldiers' that tower over this site at Rustenberg.
Tasting note

Carefully-selected Chardonnay bunches are hand harvested for this special wine and then given royal treatment in the cellar. Characters of ripe citrus, melon and peach with great minerality are rounded out by well-judged oaking. A very complex wine with a long and creamy finish and a good acid backbone.

Origin
South Africa
Variety
Chardonnay
Malolactic Fermentation
Yes
Bottle Size
75cl
Vegetarian
Blank
Winemaker
Murray Barlow
Fining Agent
Isinglass
Closure
Screw top
Region
Stellenbosch
Vegan
Blank

Vintage conditions

The cold wet winter of 2014 started early and ended late, which is ideal for the vineyards’ dormancy; however an unseasonably cool spring resulted in the vines going into summer with 10 to 40% less crop than usual. The remainder of the season was warm and dry resulting in one of the earliest harvests on record. Zero disease pressure and small crops of fantastic ripe fruit combined with high natural acids make this potentially the vintage of the decade.

Vinification details

After hand harvesting, the grapes were whole bunch pressed before fermentation in 300L French oak Hogshead barrels (70% new, 30% second fill) using wild yeasts. The wine underwent full malolactic fermentation and was aged on its lees for 15 months.