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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 is grown and how it is made. While practically every country in the wine producing world grows it, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. As far as cellar potential, white Burgundy rivals the world’s other age-worthy whites like Riesling or botrytized Semillon. California is Chardonnay’s second most important home, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia and South America are also significant producers of Chardonnay.
In the Glass
When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay flavors tend towards grapefruit, lemon zest, green apple, celery leaf and wet flint, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of melon, peach and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut and spice, while malolactic fermentation imparts a soft and creamy texture.
Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with flaky white fish with herbs, scallops, turkey breast and soft cheeses. Richer Chardonnays marry well with lobster, crab, salmon, roasted chicken and creamy 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. In Burgundy, the subregion of Chablis, while typically employing the use of older oak barrels, produces a similar bright and acid-driven style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy its lighter style.