L’illa (pronounced leeya) is the Catalan translation of ‘island’ and alludes to the wine of origin of the same name, Eilandia, and its ‘islands’ in the Breede River. The wine was born out of Nadia Newton Johnson’s (nee Cilliers) insistence on the potential of an old vineyard on their family farm to produce an exceptional sweet wine from an area that hitherto had produced wines mainly for the volume market. Their farm, also named Eilandia, has been managed by the Cilliers for the past six generations. This Chenin Blanc vineyard is now 40 years old and has been cropping naturally low yields, and at times prone to a little botrytis rot. The clayey high pH soil produces a fine structure in the wine, helping to align the sumptuously ripe and fresh flavours.
LOCATION & CLIMATE
The Eilandia ward is situated half way between the towns of Robertson and Worcester towards the interior of the Western Cape. The valley is enclosed by a series of hills to the north and the Langeberg mountains to the south. The Breede River meanders through the center of the valley and is the lifeblood to this dry landscape. The L’illa vineyard is in close proximity to the river, providing humid conditions for botrytis development in some years. Summers are warm and dry with average maximum temperatures of 31.5ºC. Average rainfall is 200mm per year.
APPELLATION Wine of Origin EILANDIA
SOIL Clay soil with free lime and a pH of 8
TRELISSING single wire low hedge system
AGE OF VINES 40 years
VINES PER ha 3470
AVERAGE YIELD 2-3 tons/Ha (8-12 hl/Ha)
ANALYSIS Alcohol by volume 12.51 %
Total Acidity 6.8 g/l
Residual sugar 108 g/l
Growing Season & Harvesting
Very little rain during the growing season resulted in modest canopies. Warm and dry conditions during January and February resulted in less botrytis than previous years. The bunches were left to dry on the vine and harvested in the first week of April.
All our fruit is harvested by hand and lightly packed in to large-surface area crates (13kg). The day’s harvest is cooled down overnight to 8ºC in the winery’s refrigerated cold room. The grape bunches are pressed whole during the course of a day, and the juice settled clear over a couple of days to be racked in to barrel for fermentation to start. The fermentations are 100% indigenous, i.e. no cultured or fabricated yeast is added. Fermentation may take anything from 4 to 12 weeks.
100% matured in older 228 and 500l barrels for 11 months.
PRODUCED 400 (12 x 375ml)
DATE 5 June 2013