Nine leading vineyard owners in the Durbanville district joined forces with Distell to create Durbanville Hills with the aim of promoting the regional individuality of this prime wine-growing area. The striking Durbanville Hills cellar sits on the side of a series of rolling hills with magnificent views of
Table Mountain and Table Bay – the very geography that lies at the heart of what makes the wines so unique.
The Durbanville ward is considered one of the Cape’s coolest wine regions, thanks to the sea breezes that drift inland from False Bay and Table Bay and the late afternoon mists that bathe the slopes. These conditions are ideal for the slow ripening of the grapes, allowing them to develop their full-flavoured, intense character. Grapes are sourced only from the shareholder- growers, all of whom farm within the limited appellation of Durbanville. Meticulous canopy management promotes concentration of varietal flavour.
Cellar master Martin Moore uses highly advanced cellar technology to ensure optimal extraction of colour and flavour. Sustainable practices include maintaining the disciplines imposed by International Environmental Standard ISO 140001 such as in the treatment of waste water back to irrigation quality. In all its vineyards the growing practices prescribed by IPW (Integrated Production of Wine) are followed. These are designed to sustain natural resources. In addition, the members protect on their farms 320 ha of endangered Renosterveld as part of the Biodiversity Wine Initiative (BWI).
THE VINEYARDS (VINEYARD CONSULTANT: HENK VAN GRAAN)
The unique character of this wine lies in the influence of the different vineyards from which the grapes were sourced. The grapes were selected from various low yield vineyards, established between 1985 and 1990 and planted in deep, dark red soils at around 250 m above sea level. All the
vines were grafted on Phylloxera resistant rootstocks and trellised on different trellising systems. Pest and disease control were implemented according to South African IPW standards.
The grapes were hand harvested between 24° and 25° Balling from mid to the end of March, just before shriveling set in, when the tannins and fruit
had reached optimum ripeness. After 24 hours of cold soaking, the must was fermented on the skins between 26ºC and 28ºC in closed, specially designed auto fermenters until dry. During this period the maximum fruit, colour and tannin extraction from the skins was made possible through very soft, continuous timer-regulated pump-over cycles. To soften the texture, the wine was left on the skins for one week after the fermentation period. Controlled malolactic fermentation took place in tank after which the Merlot was oak matured for 12 months using predominantly French oak, utilizing a small percentage new oak together with older wood as well as wood alternatives. This is done to prevent over wooding and by doing so preserving the elegance of our cool climate fruit.
Martin Moore and Wilhelm Coetzee