Hasher Family Estate brings a famous French winemaking tradition to the Valley
Hermanus, South Africa. On 17 May, the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley’s winemakers, viticulturists and farm owners gathered on Hasher Family Estate to celebrate the end of the harvest in the best way possible – by coming together to share a simple meal and a collective sigh of relief. Along with tales of this year’s successes, stresses, trials, troubles and triumphs, this group will also be the first to share a taste of the Hasher Pinot Nouveau – the very first vin nouveau released by the estate and in the valley.
To qualify as a vin nouveau (French for ‘new wine’) a wine has to produced through a very specific winemaking technique called Carbonic Maceration and must be harvested and sold within the same year – and preferably consumed as well, since the specific production method of this type of wine limits its aging potential. This type of wine originated in France back in the 1800s and started out with winemakers using a portion of the harvest to create a fresh, fruity, easy-drinking wine that could be served in time to celebrate the end of the harvest. Nouveau wines are produced all over the world and are known in Italy as Vino Novello, in Spain as Vino Joven, in Czech Republic as Svatomartinské vino, in Hungary as Marton Bora (meaning the wine of Saint Martin) and in the US as Nouveau Wine. In France it is produced in no less than 55 appelations (regions), with Beaujolais being the most famous of all. In Beaujolais this revered wine is made from Gamay grapes. Hasher Family Estate is applying the same traditional method of carbonic maceration for fermentation, but using their Pinot Noir grapes instead. The process involves adding intact whole bunches of grapes to a barrel and putting it under CO2 pressure. This allows the grapes to start fermenting from within instead of having added yeast start fermentation from the outside. At 2% alcohol, the grapes are pressed and left to ferment until the wine reaches an alcohol content of 12.5%, after which it is bottled and ready to drink. This entire process takes less than 2 months. This wine is made to be savoured, not saved and for optimum taste and enjoyment, it should be drunk within 6 months.
For this first batch of Pinot Nouveau, Frederik and Céline decided to set aside 1 ton of their coveted Pinot Noir grapes – harvested on the 2nd of March – which is expected to produce around 800 bottles of this very unique wine. Whatever is not enjoyed at the harvest celebration has been earmarked for sale in selected restaurants, where the public can get their first taste starting on the 18th of May.
By hosting this celebration, the Herten – Haspeslagh family hopes to not only thank their fellow Hemel-en-Aarde wine growers, makers and purveyors for the warm welcome they have received in the valley, but to also start a new tradition of getting together and giving thanks to nature, hard work and each other for getting through one of the toughest seasons.
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