Elgin’s climate is milder than the average Mediterranean climate. Snow occasionally covers the highest peaks. The “Black South-Easter” known for its gusting cold winds and rain showers is the result of strong summer south-easterly maritime winds blowing off the South Atlantic Ocean 12 kilometers away. This creates a cloud mantle across the Elgin valley, markedly lowering daytime temperatures. This cool climate ensures long, slow ripening of the grapes under ideal growing conditions, with the sugar, pH, acid and flavour compounds in balance to produce elegant and refined wines. Shannon Vineyards grapes ripen later than other Cape vineyards and are in perfect balance. Elgin is classified as Region II on the Winkler scale. Growing conditions on the north facing slopes are similar to Bordeaux and its south facing slopes similar to Burgundy.
The grapes are chilled to 3oC. The bunches are sorted on a conveyor, destemmed and crushed. All transfers of grape must and juice in these early stages are attained using gravity. Selected parcels of the grapes undergo a period of skin contact, at 8oC to encapture favourable skin flavours. After a gentle pressing, the juice left to settle for a period of 72 hours at 2oC. Fermentation in barrel continues until the wine is dry. The Semillon is fermented on natural yeasts and matured for 3 months in 30% new French oak and bâtonnage (lees stirring) practised fortnightly.
The focus of this wine is based on a vineyard component arising from unique low yielding Table Mountain Sandstone soils. Using natural yeasts, Shannon Semillon expresses a very distinctive musky nose combining ginger, quinine, lime zest, cardamom in a minerally and flinty style. The naturally fermented Semillon, matured on the lees, provides a fuller mouth feel and adds to the complexity of the wine. It is round on entry, then dense and concentrated in the middle, with a saline element giving the spice and citrus flavors a tactile feel that reminded one of an Old World version of this grape. This wine was vinified in a style that enhances the aging potential of Semillon.
Alcohol by volume: 14 %
Total Acidity: 6 g/l
Residual sugar: 2.1 g/l
Clones planted: GD 1
Rootstock: Richter 110
Soil types: Mostly quartz encrusted silica Table Mountain Sandstone.
Aspect of vineyards: East facing slope.
Ha planted: 0.5 ha
Planting distance: 2.2m x 1.5m
Vines per hectare: 3030
Trellis system: Vertical shoot positioning with 5-wire Hedge system with movable wires.
Irrigation: Combination of drip and micro irrigation.
Average Production: 6-8 tons per hectare (40.5-54 hl/ha).
Harvest dates: On average first week of March.
Altitude: 260 metres to 300 metres above sea level.
Temperature: Average growing season temperature of a cool 17,5°C.
Rainfall: Summers are dry with abundant rainfall, mostly in the winter months