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Our story begins back in 2007 while both 'dragging hose' in Sonoma, California, for the harvest season. A chance meeting between an Aussie and a South African has eventually turned into Craven Wines. After both having taken to the text books at our respective universities, we decided to hit the road, see lots of things, work in lots of places and try and learn as much as possible from this massive wine world. Since meeting we have both been on a similar journey to try and find exactly what we wanted to do. Luckily enough, we had very similar ideas. So back in 2011 we moved to Stellenbosch, South Africa, a place we both have an affinity for. We both feel Stellenbosch has such an amazing array of sites and terroir, and that it is perfect for what we want to do. Which is make site-specific, honest wines. Let the grapes do the talking....
In terms of 'winemaking' we like to keep things as simple as possible. To try and achieve the wines we want to make, we feel the best methods are being hands off, while being very hands on. In other words we pay serious attention to the wine but we do not manipulate the wine. We believe the best way to express site and fruit is to show just that. We do not use cultured yeasts, enzymes, fining agents, etc. throughout the winemaking process. We only use older oak and try our best to find larger format barrels. We allow our wines to stabilize naturally if they so want to. Essentially a minimal amount of SO2 (which is our friend) is the only thing added to our wines.
Pinot Gris isn't exactly an abundant grape planted in Stellenbosch but it is something Mick and Jeanine have a lot of fun working with. Although a lot of the wine drinking world think and assume it is a 'white grape' it is in fact a lovely coppery/dark rose skinned grape. They identified this incredible site on an easterly slope facing back toward Stellenbosch. It is a relatively young block, planted in 2005, but showing tremendous balance and intensity. It ripens extremely early and it almost always the first fruit in.
With this 'color thing' being the case, one cannot waste that beautiful color, so in the cellar it is fermented like a red wine on the skins (orange wine). The fruit was handpicked in late January and destemmed but left whole berry. Fermentation occurred naturally on the skins in open top fermenters with light pumpovers and gentle punchdowns throughout fermentation. After ten days, the free run was racked off and the skins were gently pressed to barrel. After nine months in old French oak barrels the wine received one racking to tank with no additions throughout the lifecycle other than a small amount of SO2.
Vine Age: 10 years old. Soil Type: Gravel, Sand and 'Koffieflip' (Ferricrete or 'Coffee Stone'). Production: 300 cases
FOOD PAIRING: Oven-roasted Cod with beurre blanc sauce, fingerling patties and haricots verts. Other pairings: Fatty grilled pork chops, rabbit in mustard sauce, club sandwich, sushi and sashimi.
PRACTICING ORGANIC. LOW SULFITE. VEGAN. ORANGE. FEMALE WINEMAKER.
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