The Bateleur (Terathopius ecaudatus), is one of the most majestic of our Eagles, so appropriate to name a flagship wine after this amazingly beautiful bird. The De Wetshof Bateleur Chardonnay 2016 is arguably one of the finest Chardonnays produced in South Africa by South Africa’s premier Chardonnay practitioners. The vineyard planted in July 1987 from plant material imported from Burgundy. The vineyard is a mere 3.5 hectares in size and is planted with over 13,000 vines.
The grapes for the De Wetshof Bateleur Chardonnay 2016 are hand harvested in the early cool hours of the morning. Once in the cellar, the bunches are destalked, and the grapes pressed and settled overnight. The usage of barrel is important at this stage. The French Oak Barrels are personally chosen by M Christian Radoux, the well-known Burgundian Cooper. Those chosen bring out the fruit in the wine. Clear juice is taken to them for fermentation. During the fermentation regular stirring, known as batonnage – with a wooden baton, takes place. This adds to the mouthfeel and mid palate flavours in the wine. After some months of maturation, the wine is racked off the lees, back into the barrel for further oak contact until the point is reached where the oak is in support of the sublime fruit. The wine is then prepared for bottling.
From a Burgundy shaped bottle under natural cork with the very elegant and simple De Wetshof Label. In the glass, a gem bright pale golden straw. The tastes are classical quality Chardonnay – all windfall citrus, full oranges and lemon and sweet tropical limes. The oak and its concomitant spices support the fruit perfectly. I feminine yet beautifully constructed wine with bold flavours, mouthfeel and a long, gently waning and satisfying aftertaste. This is a wine which, if cellared well, will mature slowly over years and just get betterer and betterer.
The De Wetshof Bateleur Chardonnay 2016 is a food wine and because its flavours are so wide and deep and long it can take on happily a number of dishes like a roasted pork belly with crunchy crackling. Perfect with a cheese board at the end of a meal. I always love Chardonnay with chicken. Vicki de Beer, a very very talented cook and published author recently sent me her recipe for Chicken Stroganoff. Stroganoff always amuses me as I had a chef once, who was grandly monikered Farrington, who used to make it as a supper dish at Lanzerac, he would call me to come and taste it to see if it was ‘strong enough’.
Vicki de Beers Chicken Stroganoff is the perfect partner to the De Wetshof Bateleur Chardonnay 2016. Named for Count Pavel Alexandrovich Stroganov, a mid 19th Century Russian notable, by his chef André Dupont, Stroganoff is traditionally made with beef.
Vicki de Beer’s Roasted Chicken Stroganoff
2kg whole chicken
4 fresh bay leaves
4 sprigs fresh thyme
4 streaky bacon rashers, trimmed, cut into 3cm pieces
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
8-10 small pickled onions peeled
200g mixed wild mushrooms
200g brown mushrooms, thickly sliced
200g portobellini mushrooms, quartered
250ml sour cream, at room temperature
Preheat oven to 180˚C. Pat the chicken dry inside and out with paper towel. Season the cavity with salt and place the bay leaves inside. Tie the legs together with string. Place in a roasting pan. Combine the butter and thyme and rub the chicken all over with it. Season the outside of the chicken with salt. Add bacon to pan. Roast for 40 min. Baste with pan juices.
Add the stock, garlic, onions and 1/2 of the mushrooms to pan. Sprinkle chicken and mushrooms with paprika. Roast for a further 30 minutes. Baste with pan juices.
Add remaining mushrooms to pan. Toss to coat in stock and bacon mixture. Roast for a further 30 minutes or until chicken is very tender.
Carefully transfer the chicken to a plate. Add the sour cream to the mushroom mixture. Stir to combine (mixture may curdle slightly). Sprinkle with parsley. Serve chicken and mushroom mixture.
Read more about De Wetshof Wine Estate, a CVC Member – CLICK HERE