Clairette Blanche is a variety that a very long history not only in Stellenbosch, but in South Africa. Sadly due to popular demand of other varieties, a lot of it was ripped out. Luckily this little block in the Polkadraai is still in the ground and is said to be one of, if not the last block in Stellenbosch. Naturally, wanting to make wines from Stellenbosch it was a no-brainer to make a wine from these grapes.
In the cellar we make the wine in two different ‘styles’. One component we whole bunch press straight to old neutral barrels for fermentation. The other portion of the grapes is de-stemmed and fermented in open top stainless steel tanks on the skins. Gentle pumpovers throughout fermentation are all that is done and once dry (around 10-12 days) we drain and press to old neutral barrels for maturation.
About Craven Winery
Our story begins back in 2007 while both ‘dragging hose’ in Sonoma, California, for the harvest season. A chance meeting between an Aussie and a South African has eventually turned into Craven Wines. After both having taken to the text books at our respective universities, we decided to hit the road, see lots of things, work in lots of places and try and learn as much as possible from this massive wine world. Since meeting we have both been on a similar journey to try and find exactly what we wanted to do. Luckily enough, we had very similar ideas. So back in 2011 we moved to Stellenbosch, South Africa, a place we both have an affinity for. We both feel Stellenbosch has such an amazing array of sites and terroir, and that it is perfect for what we want to do. Which is make site-specific, honest wines. Let the grapes do the talking….
In terms of ‘winemaking’ we like to keep things as simple as possible. To try and achieve the wines we want to make, we feel the best methods are being hands off, while being very hands on. In other words we pay serious attention to the wine but we do not manipulate the wine. We believe the best way to express site and fruit is to show just that. We do not use cultured yeasts, enzymes, fining agents, etc. throughout the winemaking process. We only use older oak and try our best to find larger format barrels. We allow our wines to stabilise naturally if they so want to. Essentially a minimal amount of SO2 (which is our friend) is the only thing added to our wines.