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SA X Trail Estate: Part 1

Written by Mackenzie Brisbois.
Scouting: Silkbush Mountain Vineyard
The farm is called Silkbush Mountain Vineyard and is located in the Breedekloof wine region of South Africa. Started by Anton Roos and his partner in vines they planted blocks all the way up the slope from 400 meters above sea level to the highest Pinotage block at more than 700 meters above sea level.

The terroir is bokkeveld shale derived and has plenty of sandstone throughout – both big and small rocks! The varying orientation of the blocks and the elevation greatly impact the ripening. When I walked these vineyards in mid-January the lower blocks were about 30% through colour change, but the top block had not even begun. The vineyard itself is north facing, which in the Southern Hemisphere, is better for red production. I found it fascinating to see that the Sauvignon blanc was trained into a tall box, so that no sunlight could get in to the clusters.

The varieties planted at Silkbush are abundant, but it’s claim to fame is the very top Pinotage block, called the Writer’s Block. Often a gold medal winner for whoever takes this block. Slightly lower down is an earlier ripening Pinotage block that I have my eye on.

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