Quality takes time. Excellence takes a little longer.
The oldest bottle in our wine collection dates back to 1981. It’s not mine, technically. It’s a present that my partner received for his 30th birthday from my father. The message on the gift read: ”This bottle is very old. It’s time to open it but we need a special occasion…”
The “special occasion” was not his 30th birthday however. It was more of a ”when are you popping the question?” type of hint and to my dad’s disappointment, the bottle is still in our cellar, 6 years later.
These thoughts crossed my mind after receiving a bottle of Shiraz from one of South Africa’s oldest wine brands, Zonnebloem. Our 32 year old wine is also a bottle of Zonnebloem. The only diffence is that ours are a magnum and made from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.
The letter accompanying the wine read: “Quality takes time, excellence a little longer”, which made me wonder…
The headline had nothing to do with the age of the wine. It focused more on Zonnebloem’s long-standing relationship with some of the best growers in the business. Some have been supplying to Zonnebloem for three and four generations or more, which certainly beats the age of our Zonnebloem Cabernet Sauvignon.
Reading the winemaker’s notes it becomes apparent that a lot of time and effort went into the making of the 2010 Zonnebloem Shiraz. Every block was separately vinified to retain its uniqueness. Each tank was cold-soaked for five to seven days. Fermentation took place on the skins for 10 to 12 days. After undergoing malolactic fermentation the wine spent 14 months in barrels and finally blended and bottled. It was released 3 month later.
I believe that if the same effort and time went into the 1981 vintage, my partner still has a couple of years left before popping the question. As the Zonnebloem saying goes: Quality takes time but excellence a little longer…