There is a small newly created Wine Appellation in the Witzenberg Mountains in Ceres known as ‘Op die Berg.’ A farm in this appellation owned by the Graaff family is known for the fine quality apples and pears. The soft yellow shale soils are well drained and perfect for the growth of vines with its altitude and unique climate. The grapes ripen up to two weeks later than those in the Western Cape. The grapes for the De Grendel Op die Berg Chardonnay 2016 come from this special place.
Harvested as the sun rises in the cool of dawn, the grapes are fast moved to the Winery on De Grendel Estate in the Tygerberg Hills. Here life as a wine for De Grendel Op die Berg Chardonnay 2016 begins, where, after careful selection, the bunches are destemmed, and the grapes crushed and gently passed through the press. The juice is settled overnight, inoculated with a specially chosen yeast and then taken to 225 litre French oak barrels. 33% of the barrels were new, 33% were second fill and the remainder were third fill. The juice is then fermented in the barrels and allowed 6 months on its lees, during which time batonage occurs twice a week before malolactic fermentation takes place. After malolactic fermentation batonage only occurs once a month. This process of batonnage or stirring with baton enhances the mouth feel of the wine and adds to its structure, of which there is plenty in this wine. The wine is then prepared for bottling.
It looks like
Bottle in a Burgundy shaped bottle with the superior screw cap closure. The livery is classical De Grendel, gold lettering on black. In the glass, a gem bright pale golden straw with flashes of gold and lime green.
It smells like
Orange flower water. Fudgy beeswax aromas. Pear drops. Yellow apples.
It tastes like
A commanding wine from entry through to exit. On so many layers. Soft full round. Lemon creams. And a long line of refreshing acidity all the way through. Minerals and sea kelp in the perfectly interwoven aftertaste.
It’s good with
A wine for serious philosophical sipping at sundown. As a food wine it has many perfect partners. Anything from roast pork with crispy crackling, to veal slices in a delicate creamy Marsala sauce. Ina Paarman’s Lemon Chicken for a Crowd is the loveliest partner, for this wine. Click here for her recipe.
The icon of the South African Kitchen, Ina Paarman
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