Stellenbosch, South Africa
71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Cabernet Franc and 12% Petit Verdot
Ntsiki grew up in Mahlabathini, a rural village in KwaZulu-Natal, and matriculated from high school in 1996. Having spent a year as a domestic worker, she was awarded a scholarship to study winemaking at Stellenbosch University in 1999.
She graduated in 2003 with a BSc in Agriculture (Viticulture and Oenology) and joined boutique winery Stellekaya as their winemaker the following year.
Ntsiki’s ambition to create her own wines grew following a collaboration with Californian winemaker, Helen Kiplinger, as part of Mika Bulmash’s Wine for the World initiative.
Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most famous red wine grape varieties on Earth. It is now the key grape variety in many first-rate New World wine regions, most notably Napa Valley, Coonawarra and Maipo Valley. Wherever they come from, Cabernet Sauvignon wines always seem to demonstrate a handful of common character traits: deep color, good tannin structure, moderate acidity and aromas of blackcurrant, tomato leaf, dark spices and cedarwood.
Stellenbosch is perhaps the most famous wine-producing region in South Africa. The town, in Western Cape's Coastal Region, is steeped in history and is home to the country’s best-known wine estates. Cabernet Sauvignon is the region's most widely planted grape variety, and is often combined with Merlot to create Bordeaux Blend wines.
The 2019 Umsasane is a blend of 71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Cabernet Franc and 12% Petit Verdot coming from a carefully selected pool of small sites totalling 10 hectares, from across the Stellenbosch region, which are between 320m and 480m above sea level. The vines have an average age of between 8 and 15 years, which are hand-harvested; and all farms practice sustainable farming – a must for Ntsiki and her team.
Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks which takes place over 10 days. Once the alcoholic fermentation is complete, malolactic conversion is encouraged which takes place over the next 30 days before the wines are racked into barrel, 40% of which is new oak, for 16 months. The wine is then filtered and bottled and aged for a further three months before release. Residual sugar is 1.7g/l, Total Acidity 5.9g/l, pH is 3.47. Total S02 is 113mg/l of which free sulpher is 32mg/l.