The size of Bellevue’s 2019 harvest was one of the smallest in the estate’s history, largely due to the preceding drought, as well as the high temperatures during the month of February. However, we are excited about the wine quality of the 2019 vintage since it exceeded expectations.
Stellenbosch winelands received much more rain during the 2018 winter than the previous year, but it only started raining in late May. This implicates we still experienced a dry autumn, which is not favorable for dryland vineyards. The result of the dry autumn was that too little reserves were formed by the roots of the vines after harvest, which affected the quantity in a bigger way, the size of the 2019 crop.
We also experienced fluctuating weather conditions during the spring of 2018, with three extremely hot days towards the end of October. The changing weather pattern during spring resulted in uneven budding and uneven bunches, with small berries. The smaller berries are mainly responsible for the higher quality wines of 2019, as they have more concentrated flavours and a deeper colour.
The first half of the 2019 harvesting season had rather ”normal” weather conditions, but the second part (especially February) was very hot. The difficult ongoing climatic conditions resulted in the slow ripening of the late cultivars like Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz.
We were very fortunate to have bigger Chardonnay and Chenin blanc crops in 2019 (comparing to 2018) and the same crop size with the Sauvignon blanc yield. Other farms in the region had smaller crops in the case of all three mentioned cultivars. The immediate reaction will be: “How was the wine quality affected?” The Bellevue Chenin blanc 2019 shows at this early stage much potential, while the Sauvignon blanc is of the same (or higher!) standard as our Veritas gold Sauvignon blanc 2017!
Both white wines have been bottled and is available in our tasting room.
Although we harvested much less Pinotage grapes than last year, the quality of the wine in tank looks at this stage excellent and we cannot wait to follow the progress in quality and complexity of the wine during barrel maturation. The wine exceeding quality of our Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cinsaut wines was also surprisingly high, taking the slow ripening of this season in consideration.
However, especially the latter two cultivars, were extremely down on volume.
We are looking forward to follow the development of our red wines during barrel maturation the coming year.