Craftsmanship as a philosophy...


   Our vines are hand pruned, grapes are hand picked and hand sorted. The juice to become our unique white pinotage is gently bled out by hand from inside the tank as the mash runs into it by gravity. The remaining red fraction is punched down by hand during fermentation in those same tanks. The wine is then gently pressed by hand in a traditional basket press as it was done more than a thousand years ago.
   Contrary to large industrial producers that are requested to maintain exact continuity year on year, we can, and will, create wines in harmony with the conditions and characte-ristics of each vintage. 
   At Tempel, winemaking is not just a manu- facturing process, but craftsmanship pure and simple.



 Pinotage

Tempel’s blessing is the hardy red grape variety that is South Africa’s contribution to the Vinefera vine. In 1925 Stellenbosch University Professor A. I. Perold crossed Pinot Noir and Cinsault, then commonly and still sometimes called Hermitage in South Africa, hence the contraction Pinotage. Pinotage is a good vineyard performer, with intensely coloured grapes, easily attained ripeness by mid vintage, and good fixed acidity.  We harvest end January or early February. Fermenting at higher, more traditional temperatures and then maturing in French barrels produces a velvety Pinotage with finesse, some classic sweet berry flavours and tannic length.

The vines are “bush vines”, or goblet trained vines, irrigated from the Berg River using a filtered drip system. Due to the age of the farm, riparian rights are entrenched and watering is always available. The comparison with a bush is apt: the vines are trained to a free-standing short trunk and pruned to a few spurs arranged in a ring on short arms from the trunk. This has proved to be a successful method of cultivation and, although the yield is lower, the grape is richer in taste and colour. Annual yield from the 4.2Ha vineyard is kept to only 15-20 tonnes to guarantee the intensity of flavours and body for which Tempel Pinotage is renowned. Sloping south- and eastwards towards the Berg River, the decomposed granite and ferrous clay subsoils at De Tempel produce rich grapes of outstanding quality.
Tempel is proud member of the South African Pinotage Association.
  

Vinification

Tempel grapes are hand harvested in the early hours of the last days of January or early February. At harvesting we aim for optimal physiological and phenolic ripeness at a balling of 24.5-24.8 degrees (approx. 24.5-24.8% sugar). The grapes are immediately taken to the cellar in small crates.
As from the 2009 vintage all grapes are hand sorted and crushed lightly before left to ferment in open concrete tanks. Every two hours around the clock the cap is punched down for optimal extraction. An integrated cooling system ensures that the fermentation temperature is kept between 25-28 degrees. At 6-8 balling we press very gently in an 800 litre basket press. The pressure is never allowed to exceed 0.6 bar. This bush vine pinotage is then left to mature in French oak barrels for a period of 12 – 20 months. A mix of new, first and second fill barrels is used to attain a perfect balance between oak and fruit flavours. 

Our white pinotage, Tempel Blanc de Noir, is made from juice bled from the mash immediately after hand sorting and destemming. A little more than 20% of the total juice is used to make this unique wine. After chilling to 10 degrees and settling in tank for 36 hours, the juice is racked to oak barrels for complete barrique fermenta-tion. After completion of primary and malolactic fermen-tations, the wine is left to mature in French barrels for seven months for subtle oak flavours. The wine is fined, cold stabilized and bottled end of August each year.