Org de Rac has just released its first wine from the 2022 vintage, a Shiraz Rosé made by Lizelle Gerber who took over the winemaking reins of this premier organic Swartland winery at the end of last year. A seasoned Cape winemaker, Gerber says the first wine bears the quality and varietal expression one expects to find from organically farmed vineyards.

“As far as the Cape winelands are concerned, 2022 was a vintage that can best be described as ‘all over the place’ in terms of the timing of the harvest,” she says. “Many regions reported their harvests beginning two weeks later than average, and a prolonged ripening season saw certain areas still harvesting red grapes at the end of April – unheard of.”

Org de Rac’s harvest, however, was short and sharp, with most of the white and red varieties landing in the cellar well before the end of March. “The cool, mild growing season created balanced, slow ripening. So, when the heat came in February the grapes showed phenolic ripeness, and a -picking we went,” says Gerber.

Of the first wine, the Org de Rac 2022 Rosé, Gerber says the grapes were ideal for making rosé. “With Org de Rac being in the Swartland, Shiraz plays one of the leading roles on the farm,” she says. “All the vines have been farmed organically from the time the first vineyards were set-up 21 years ago, so what we are seeing are plants in-tune with their environment showing balanced chemistry in the grapes and purity in the varietal expression.”

Grapes are hand-picked and delivered to the winery in the coolness of morning where the whole bunches are sorted, removing unwanted fruit. An immediate gentle pressing of these bunches – kept whole to ensure finesse and balance –  sees the juice bled off from the red skins before settling in a cool tank and fermentation. After fermentation the wine is kept cool, allowing for colour stability and lees contact for added complexity.

“The two words associated with rosé are freshness and colour,” says Gerber. “Org de Rac’s 2022 rosé is a characteristic Provençal colour of onion skin and a slight pink hue, the kind of colour that is the hallmark of a classic rosé.”

The fruit quality with balanced acidity and pH ensures that the aspect of freshness leaps to the fore. “The wine is bone-dry, but with a tantalizing note of berry and flowers which makes for a gorgeous potpourri of flavours wrapped in this bracing freshness, making it a wine you want to chill, sip and drink more of.”

Gerber says that the Org de Rac Rosé is a welcome addition to the spectrum of South African rosé, which is growing in popularity.

“Sales numbers of rosé have increased dramatically over the past five years,” she says, “driven by South Africans’ love of the outdoors and our warm climate that makes the prospect of a cold fresh rosé very enticing. Add to this the quality of South African rosé, and this is one of our most exciting wine categories of which we are still to see much more of.”