Always exciting when vines are planted in areas which have not hosted vines before. De Grendel Wine Estate, is owned by the Graaff family, the present head of which is Sir de Villiers Graaff. The family owns farms high on the Witzenberg Mountains in Ceres – farms which produce high quality apples and pear. The ‘Op die Berg’ Appellation was created especially created to accommodate two grape varieties, the noble Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Today’s wine is the De Grendel Op die Berg Chardonnay 2017, with grapes high in quality and with concentrated flavour. No marine breezes here, this is a truly continental climate and that much colder than our traditional vineyards. It is even known to snow in mid-winter. Though hotter days in the harvesting period, and cooler nights. Slower ripening, thus bringing more flavour to the grapes and creating a more palate filling wine.
The grapes for the De Grendel Op die Berg Chardonnay 2017 are hand harvested as dawn breaks and are immediately taken to the De Grendel Cellar where Charles Hopkins, De Grendel’s founding winemaker, and his team destalk, crush and then gently press the grapes to retrieve an even handed 650 litres per ton. After settling the juice overnight, it is inoculated with yeasts to bring out all the Chardonnay flavours and transferred to French oak barrels for fermentation – 33% of them new and the balance made up of the same percentage of 2nd and 3rd fill barrels. The wine is then barrel matured on its fine lees for 6 months, during which the wine is stirred twice a week after alcoholic fermentation and once a week after malolactic fermentation has occurred. This is to enhance the mid palate flavours and mouthfeel. The wine was then prepared for bottling.
It looks like
Bottled under premium screw cap in a Burgundy shaped bottle with the elegant De Grendel label livery. In the glass, the wine is pale citrine in colour, with youthful flashes of lime green. Gem bright and just begging you to have a whiff and get drinking.
It smells like
Generous citrus fruits, oak and its concomitant aromas of vanilla and coconut.
It tastes like
Soft from entry, a full swirling mouthful of deliciousness. Stone fruits, white fleshed peaches and soft-dried Turkish apricots. Excellent freshness leading on to the long and gently waning aftertaste.
It’s good with
This is a food wine par excellence. Ian Bergh, Chef at De Grendel Restaurant, offers some superb partners to this wine. Well worth a visit if you are in the area. Its only 15 minutes from the city and the airport. Nadia Graves’s Oven Baked Fish with a Chorizo Crumble is an excellent partner for the De Grendel Op die Berg Chardonnay 2017. Click here for her recipe.