Pondokrug – a ridge (rug) deriving its name from a shepherds hut (Pondok).
High up on the West facing slopes of the Stellenbosch Mountain, this is a 1.8Ha parcel of Cabernet Franc planted in 2006. At an elevation of 380m above sea level and surrounded by mountain ‘fynbos’, this block is exposed to many natural elements resulting in very low yields. The soil on Pondokrug is red granitic loam with a high clay content which sustains the vines during the summer months. These factors allow us to produce an intense wine with unique flavours and a solid tannin structure.
All grapes used in producing our wines are grown on Keermont Vineyards. Small parcels of grapes are specifically selected according to ripeness, harvested by hand and vinified separately. Fermentation is carried out by yeast which occurs naturally on the grape skins and in the winery. Red wines spend three to four weeks fermenting and macerating on the skins in small open top tanks with one or two gentle ‘punch-downs’ performed per day. This wine spent 20 months maturing in seasoned 225 litre French oak barrels before being bottled by hand without filtration. 2865 bottles and 47 Magnums were produced.
The Pondokrug Cabernet Franc 2016 is bright blood red in colour. The nose is a deep, complex and intriguing mix of bright red cherry fruit, cloves, and some typical pyrazine character. The palate is firm and structured with subtle cherry and black current flavours with hints of herbal mountain vegetation (fynbos). The dusty, chalky tannins hold the fruit flavours into a long, succulent and dry finish. Drink 2020-2035.
The 2016 vintage was a challenging one for the vineyard team. It started with moderate winter temperatures and below average rainfall. Spring came early and was also relatively warm and dry. The weather continued to warm up towards Christmas and we experienced average maximum temperatures of 30°C and 35°C for December and January respectively! Fortunately, we had some rain during December which pepped the vines up leading into the critical ‘veraison’ period over Christmas and into January.
With all of the hot, dry weather the grapes ripened quickly and we started picking earlier than ever before (19 January). We had a crazy month of harvesting where we processed 78 tons of grapes from the farm including 11 different varieties. Harvest ended as quickly as it had begun and by 19 February we had picked all of the grapes for Keermont wines. Pondokrug yield 2016: 4.0 ton/Ha
Alc: 14.5 %
TA: 5.6 g/L
RS: 2.1 g/L
TSO2: 41 mg/L
VA: 0.76 g/L
PONDOKRUG CAB FRANC 15: 96pts TIM ATKIN (MW)
PONDOKRUG CAB FRANC 15: 4 ½ star PLATTER GUIDE
PONDOKRUG CAB FRANC 15: 90 pts NEAL MARTIN
PONDOKRUG CAB FRANC 14: 92 pts NEAL MARTIN (Wine Advocate)
PONDOKRUG CAB FRANC 14: 94 pts TIM ATKIN (MW)
PONDOKRUG CAB FRANC 14: 4 stars PLATTER GUIDE