Capensis Chardonnay 2014
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Latin for “cape,” Capensis is produced in South Africa, one of the oldest winemaking regions in the world. The ancient soils, dramatic landscapes and historic vineyards of Stellenbosch, Overberg and Robertson are the foundation for Capensis which honors the greatness of South Africa. Winemaker Graham Weerts and world-renowned Vineyard Manager Rosa Kruger have carefully selected the finest Chardonnay vineyards within the Western Cape to create this expressive wine.
Fijnbosch Vineyard Region, Stellenbosch, elevation 1,719 feet.
Located in the Stellenbosch region, the estate-owned Fijnbosch Vineyard sits at 1,719 feet in elevation. The name hails from the Dutch settlers’ term for the natural vegetation in the area, meaning “fine bush” or “fine woods.” The high elevation, clay soils and fynbos surrounding the vines contribute to the Chardonnay’s exceptional natural acidity and complexity.
Kaaimansgat Vineyard Region, Overberg, elevation 2,484 feet. Impressively remote and resting up in the mountains of Overberg at 2,484 feet, the Kaaimansgat Vineyard literally translates to “crocodile’s lair.” Showcasing true mountain terroir, this high elevation vineyard contributes to the wine’s aromas of white peach and bosch pear. E. Bruwer Vineyard Region, Robertson, elevation 571 feet. The E. Bruwer Vineyard is located in the Robertson region, where Chardonnay grapes thrive on the ancient pockets of limestone soil. Only specific vineyard rows which grow in these unique pockets are selected for this wine, contributing to the distinct minerality found on the palate.
With an important wine renaissance in full swing, impressive red and white bargains abound in South Africa. The country has a particularly long and rich history with winemaking, especially considering its status as part of the “New World.” In the mid-17th century, the lusciously sweet dessert wines of Constantia were highly prized by the European aristocracy. Since then, the South African wine industry has experienced some setbacks due to the phylloxera infestation of the late 1800s and political difficulties throughout the following century.
Today, however, South Africa is increasingly responsible for high-demand, high-quality wines—a blessing to put the country back on the international wine map. Wine production is mainly situated around Cape Town, where the climate is generally warm to hot. But the Benguela Current from Antarctica provides brisk ocean breezes necessary for steady ripening of grapes. Similarly, cooler, high-elevation vineyard sites throughout South Africa offer similar, favorable growing conditions.
South Africa’s wine zones are divided into region, then smaller districts and finally wards, but the country’s wine styles are differentiated more by grape variety than by region. Pinotage, a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, is the country’s “signature” grape, responsible for red-fruit-driven, spicy, earthy reds. When Pinotage is blended with other red varieties, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah or Pinot Noir (all commonly vinified alone as well), it is often labeled as a “Cape Blend.” Chenin Blanc (locally known as “Steen”) dominates white wine production, with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc following close behind.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.