De Wetshof Wine Estate in the Robertson Wine Appellation is well known as a Chardonnay specialist. There are 5 De Wetshof Chardonnays from the Limestone Hill and Bon Vallon which are unwooded through to the stately Bateleur a premier wine, beautifully oaked and certainly one of the leading Chardonnays from our winelands. The Estate has now been in the family for three generations. Danie de Wet, the proprietor and Cellarmaster and his two sons and co-owners, Johann who is responsible for Viticulture and Marketing of the De Wetshof Wines and Peter, the Wine Maker.
De Wetshof Estate is one of the most beautifully kept I have seen. Lawns are clipped as if with nail scissors, the trees are beautiful, and at this time of year, the Jacaranda Avenue up from the road to the farm buildings is a mass of purple blooms, many of which lie on the ground brightening up the aspect. The immaculately kept reception and wine tasting and sales building is modelled on a design by Louis-Michel Thibault after whom this wine is named. Thibault was an architect who was responsible for a number of beautiful buildings in the Cape in the 18th and 19th Centuries, including the iconic Koopmans De Wet House which still stands in Strand Street in Cape Town’s City Bowl.
The De Wetshof Thibault 2010, almost 9 years old with more years to go if carefully cellared, is a classical Bordeaux style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, two of the great Bordeaux grapes which have made their homes all over the world. Made classically and matured in French oak barrels for 18 months, the Thibault could last up to 15 years after harvest if properly cellared. It is, of course, drinking beautifully now. Picked in the early morning, the grapes are elevated separately in the cellar by being cooled after destalking. A period of cold soaking takes place before fermentation in stainless steel tanks. Once pressed the wine goes to French oak barrels especially chosen by well-known French Cooper M. Christian Radoux. Once malolactic fermentation has taken place, the wine is racked to new barrels for a period of 18 months. The wines are then blended and prepared for bottling.
From a Bordeaux shaped bottle under high quality natural cork. The livery is classical and so elegant. It has Thibault’s signature on it and the picture of the house on the Estate. In the glass, the Thibault is a rich dark bloodplum red at the core which pales out to ruby at the edges. What one expects in terms of aromas one gets, dark berry and plum fruit, graphite and dark chocolate. The palate is weighty and enduring, interwoven with cashmere clad tannins, supportive oak the generosity of fruit makes its presence felt right through to the end of the long aftertaste. This is a wine of great pedigree.
This is the perfect post prandial wine for gentle sipping, perhaps with a block or two of snappy dark Belgian or Swiss Chocolate. It is also so perfect with any form of red meat. Jane Anne Hobbs’s Slow-roasted Stuffed Leg of Lamb with a Basil Walnut Sauce is the perfect foil for the De Wetshof Thibault 2010. Click here for her recipe.
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