Adverse climate conditions have again put paid to a new release of the sought-after Delheim Edelspatz Noble Late Harvest, considered one of South Africa’s best dessert wines. This Rhine Riesling is an award-winning stalwart of the eco-conscious Stellenbosch estate’s portfolio that has not been realised for a second year running due to the influence of Mother Nature.
It is the first time since Delheim started producing the Edelspatz in 1979, that the wine has been absent for two consecutive years – an indication of both the severity of the drought and Delheim’s commitment to quality.
The making of a noble late harvest wine requires the natural occurrence of a vineyard fungus, Botrytis cinerea, that removes water from grapes and leads to the concentration of sugars and flavours. This desirable “noble rot” relies on wet and humid conditions, which have not been present due to drought across much of the Cape Winelands.
Delheim prides itself on crafting wine to the rhythm of nature as well as only making a wine when the conditions allow for the best. Grapes are not bought in. An assessment on the next vintage of Delheim Edelspatz will be made in May next year.
The Delheim Edelspatz Noble Late Harvest is traditionally made from a single 29-year-old vineyard that only yields around three tons of grapes per hectare. The last vintage, the sold-out 2015, achieved amongst other accolades, five stars in Platter’s South African Wine Guide.