The de Wet family of De Wetshof Wine Estate in Robertson are Chardonnay Legends. Danie, the paterfamilias created a variety of expressions of Chardonnay and he is very positive about unoaked Chardonnay. The vines on De Wetshof are old enough to provide fruit which can stand, proudly, on its own in the bottle. The fine calcareous Robertson soils play a major advantage in the flavour of the final wine.
The American critic Robert Parker describes this wine as such: “The De Wetshof Estate Limestone Hill Chardonnay never sees oak, and offers impeccably pure, refreshing apple, peach and lemon fruit, a lovely leesy richness of texture, and a nutty, chalky, fruit-filled finish of imposing length. Understated and less tropical than some of the better un-oaked Chardonnays, this wine possesses far better balance and sheer drinkability – not to mention more finesse – than 99% of the world’s Chardonnay I have experienced.”
The Robertson Valley is characterised by cold winters and sunny summers, with an average annual rainfall of 350 – 400mm. In summer a fresh southerly breeze has a cooling effect on the vineyards, allowing the grapes to ripen evenly and in perfect balance. The dry climate and the bracing breeze keep pests to a minimum, resulting in sparse spraying programmes. Controlled computerised irrigation systems including the monitoring of soil moisture content ensure the vines are given exactly the right amount of water at the right time to produce grapes of optimum ripeness and developed flavours.
Picked at dawn to ensure maximum flavour retention the grapes are de-stemmed, pressed and overnight cold settled. The clear juice is racked-off from the sediment and pumped into stainless steel tanks for the alcohol fermentation. After fermentation, the wine is left on the lees under controlled temperatures for four months. Weekly stirring of the lees ensures maximum flavours are released into the wine until the wines are ready for bottling.
It looks like
Bottled, appropriately in a Burgundy shaped bottle under natural cork. In the glass a gem bright pale gold with lime green flashes.
It smells like
Windfall citrus and generous notes of tropical fruits.
It tastes like
From entry to tail, a superior wine. Wonderfully rich in texture, big on flavour, full mid palate. Masses of minerals, kelp, ripe white-fleshed peaches, ripe winter melon. Grapefruit and hazelnuts. Fabulous aftertaste which lingers.
It’s good with
The first time I tasted this wine, it was a previous vintage, I had it with ceviche, a South American raw and pickled fish dish. Reputedly taken to Peru by Japanese immigrants, it then spread across South America, so each country has its own version. It is excellent with any number of fish dishes, smoked chicken, even a roast belly of pork.
Read more about De Wetshof Estate – CLICK HERE