Asara The Bell Tower 2012 (6/case) (R295/BOTTLE)
Asara’s Speciality range is an eclectic collection of wines that represent a twist on regional specialities. Niche and unique, the range reflects the quality of an estate whose vinous history dates back to 1691.
Malbec (40%), Merlot (20%), Petit Verdot (20%), Cabernet Sauvignon, (10%), Cabernet Franc (10%)
A large figure looms above the lawns on Asara estate, both iconic and historic, calling to mind a bygone age. The Bell Tower secured its place in Asara’s history as the means of making known the time of day, and is pictured for posterity on all wines that carry the Asara name today. Its eponymy was reserved for the flagship of the estate, produced from the best of the barrels from the best fruit on the farm. Fittingly The Bell Tower is a weighty wine, in the style of the world’s most highly prized blend: the Bordeaux-style. As always there is a special take on the traditional theme. In this case, the blend is led by a cultivar lesser known, largely because of the intricacies its viticulture involves. That variety is Malbec; and in The Bell Tower blend it contributes the depth of colour and fruit-rich elegance that once made it so popular in Bordeaux. Asara’s Specialty range is an eclectic collection of wines that represent a twist on regional specialities. Niche and unique, the range reflects the quality of an estate whose vinous history dates back to 1691.
Each vineyard block on the Asara property is assigned a rating according to its quality. Those that perform consistently with fruit of the highest quality are set aside for inclusion in The Bell Tower blend The vineyards are located at higher altitudes, from 120m to 200m above sea level. The resulting cooler climate extends fruit ripening, and the hanging time on the vine. Judicious watering and canopy regimes work in collaboration with sequential harvesting to further prolong the fruit development phase. The parent rock across the blocks is decomposed granite, a soil type rich in minerality, well drained and contributing to the development of elegance. The Malbec vines are planted at 170m on high potential Tukulu soils that enable the vines to progress to budding easily. The vineyards are among the oldest on the property at 16-18 years of age, and the lowest yielding at 4-5 tons per hectare. All of the vineyards are grown on slopes, mostly southwest facing, reducing grape exposure to direct sunlight.
Harvesting takes place in the early hours of morning into small lugs for rapid transfer to cellar. The grapes are cooled overnight to 5°C, hand sorted n whole bunches and de-stemmed. Cold maceration takes place over one week, then fermentation at 24-28°C. Four pump overs are scheduled per day during fermentation, and extended contact with the skin after fermentation occurs for up to one month. The wines go to malolactic fermentation in tank, and are racked straight away into barrels, each cultivar separately. The wine matures for 18 months in 2251 French barriques -15% new, and 30% each of second and third fill oak, the remainder being 4-5 years old. The best of barrels are blended to produce a wine of elegance, intensity and complexity.
Elegant whiffs of red fruit with some charred notes, and classic pencil shavings on the nose. A fruit-sweet entry of fresh red berries, dark berries, and lightly perceptible oak. A weighty, rounded wine.
Residual sugar (RS) 3.5 g/I
Total Acidity (TA) 5.46 g/I