I once did a radio interview with Danie de Wet, who, with his sons Johann and Peter, owns De Wetshof Wine Estate about the merits of unoaked and delicately oak Chardonnay. What was meant to be a 4-minute interview turned into a 9-minute brilliant dissertation. We had to do a lot of editing. Danie felt at the time, and he was quite right of course, that our Chardonnay vines are old enough to produce fruit of outstanding quality. The De Wetshof Limestone Hill is a perfect example of an unoaked Chardonnay, with the fruit shining. The De Wetshof Finesse 2018 is a sublime example of a Chardonnay with delicately applied oak.
The grapes for the De Wetshof Finesse 2018 were picked off the estate’s own vineyards in the early hours of the day to capture all the aromas and flavours of a perfectly ripe Chardonnay. Once in the cellar, the grapes are destalked, crushed and pressed and the juice allowed to cool settle overnight. The barrels used for the fermentation are of French oak and especially selected for De Wetshof by Christian Radoux, renowned French Cooper. First, second and third fill barrels are used which enhance the nutty and citrus notes of the wine.
Once fermentation is over, the wine lies on the barrels on its lees. Weekly bâtonnage takes place which helps build the mid-palate and allows for major flavour release into the wine. Within a few months the wine is racked off the lees and returned to the barrels for further maturation – until the team is happy with the balance of oak and fruit. The wine is then prepared for bottling.
From a Burgundy shaped bottle, closed with natural cork. The label is classic De Wetshof, with the Cape Vintners Classification logo on the foil around the cork. In the glass, a pale golden straw, gem bright. The aromas are of citrus with hazelnut undertow, very inviting. The aromas are the flavours you get on entry, a big round wine with a perfectly balanced ending which wanes gently and slowly.
This is more a sipper than a quaffer. Luncheon or sundowner wine and perfect with dinner. As a summer lunch Carey Boucher Erasmus’s Coconut Fish Curry is a lovely match. Click here for her recipe
Read more about De Wetshof Wine Estate – CLICK HERE