Magazine

TERRA VITIS: THE RISING STAR OF ENVIRONMENTAL ENDORSEMENTS
From vineyard to bottle, Terra Vitis guarantees that traceability, organisation and environmental man-agement run seamlessly on farms that apply sustainable techniques. The French certification scheme is increasingly gaining traction, primarily because it takes on board new social responsibility standards.
Soil-searching for fine Pinotage
Like all inspiring wine countries globally, indigenous grape varieties are part of a quintessential blend of things to see, taste and experience. For South Africans, Table Mountain is their beacon of ancient soils, its "tablecloth" of cloud the introduction to the Cape's whimsical weather. And while the smell of Boerewors and Karoo lamb chops on a traditional open fire "braai" sets the scene for local fare, it is not fulfilled until Pinotage anoints the occasion.
Sauternes and Barsac
Here, too, winter was wet but quite mild, leading to early budburst though the head start was lost due to a cold spring and start of April marked by frost. Flowering went well but June was particularly wet and caused shatter and disease pressure. Botrytis ultimately established itself well and harvesting went seamlessly, producing beautifully crafted noble-rot wines but in very, very small quantities!
Saint-Emilion and Pomerol
These two neighbouring cousins are no exception to the rule – inconsistency left right and centre! Probably the most challenging vintage since 2013. But 2021 was saved by its unusually long growing season. It began with budburst at the beginning of April and finished with harvesting dates that were spread out until mid-October due to an over-abundance of sunshine. This confluence of events obviously benefited the Cabernets more than Libourne’s ubiquitous Merlot. Here’s a run-down of what to expect.
Graves and Pessac-Léognan
These appellations to the South of Bordeaux experienced a mild winter and early budburst with the now all-too familiar consequences at the beginning of April. The end of the growing season was less eventful, allowing healthy fruit to be harvested, paving the way for a low-volume but high-quality vintage. The whites are fresh and very aromatic. There is greater inconsistency among the reds but with good fruit and lots of crunchy flavours.
In IGP country, Pays d’Oc reigns supreme
IGP Pays d’Oc covers a 120,000-hectare swathe of land from the Camargue to the Côte Vermeille. This extensive area is home to 20,000 winegrowers who produce wines that wear the colours of the South with pride, both nationally and internationally.
Alsace and its first-rate Crémants
Sparkling wines labelled as Crémant account for 25% of Alsace wine production. After an outstanding year for sales in 2019 came the global pandemic in 2020, but growth has now resumed and sales may well break new records. Encouragingly, the popularity of Crémant d’Alsace is spreading to more and more countries worldwide.