The grapes to produce Chenin Blanc “The Lark” Olifantsberg were whole bunch pressed to ensure elegant extraction. Fermentation took place with natural yeasts in a combination of 500 litre French oak barrels, (10% new), and Hungarian oak barrels (10% new). A proportion of Chenin Blanc “The Lark” Olifantsberg was also fermented in large French oak foudres of 2,000 litres. The wine was aged for 10 months on the lees which contributed to the richness and texture of the wine.
The grapes come from a 0.6 hectare vineyard located on the fertile slopes of the Olifantsberg Mountain Range where they endure large diurnal temperature differences and strong winds, at altitudes from 250 to 450 metres above sea level. During the winter the mountain peaks are snow covered, keeping the vines dormant for longer. Strong, constant winds characterise this block; they have a cooling effect and encourage a slow, gradual ripening of the grapes, helping to maintain healthy vines and contribute freshness and elegance to the wines. The soil in the vineyard is made up of sandstone with clay-shale and quartz. The vineyard is farmed in a sustainable manner, with only ‘green’ products used to prevent disease, thus helping to maintain the biodiversity within the vineyards and soils. Supplementary drip irrigation sustains the soil moisture which is monitored by soil moisture probes. The vines are VSP trained and are hand-harvested early in the morning to retain freshness. The lark is found in many biomes in South Africa, each with distinct call and features depending on the biome. This wine is named after the Red Capped Lark which is found on the Olifantsberg farm. The lark resonates with this block of Chenin Blanc, as it too has its own expression and story to tell.
Olifantsberg is passionate about producing authentic wines with a true sense of place, which reflect the unique location of their vineyard. The focus is on sustainable farming and winemaking practices, resulting in limited intervention in the both the vineyard and cellar. The Olifantsberg team are fully committed to understanding their terroir and managing their natural resources through conservation, which adds to the singularity of their wines. The unique terroir with its combination of Breede-shale, Renosterveld and sandstone soils, constant winds and elevation, produces concentrated fruit that results in elegant, fresh and age-worthy wines.