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De Wetshof Bon Vallon Chardonnay 2013
Danie began his winemaking career after studying at Geisenheim in Germany, returning to South Africa in the early 1970s to work alongside his father who began the De Wetshof Estate. Over the years, careful planning has gone into soil mapping the estate’s vineyards to identify the ideal terroir for the various varietals Danie nurtures both in the alluvial soils near the Breede River, as well as the lime rich slopes stretching up from the river. The Estate has become renowned for its elegant, award-winning wines and its innovative and advanced used of technology in the vineyard and cellar.
Within the Breede River Valley in South Africa, Robertson is a warm and dry winegrowing region notable for its white wines. The region is home to an increasing number of estates and cooperatives.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it’s grown and how it’s made. In Burgundy, Chardonnay produces some of the finest white wines in the world, typically tending towards minimal intervention in the winery and at its best resulting in remarkable longevity. This grape is popular throughout the world, but perhaps its second most important home is in California, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia, South America, South Africa, and New Zealand are also significant producers of Chardonnay.
In the Glass
When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay’s flavors tend towards grapefruit, green apple, minerals, and white stone fruit, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of fig, melon, and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut, and spice (as well as texture), while malolactic fermentation can impart soft, buttery acidity.
Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with simple seafood, light chicken dishes, and salads. Richer Chardonnays marry well with cream or oil-based sauces.
Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. These Old-World style wines have been dubbed the “New California Chardonnays,” and anyone who claims they do not like Chardonnay should give them a try.