Thursday, June 14, 2012

Chardonnay tasting at Dewetshof

Dewetshof's magnificent underground barrel cellar, where the tasting was held
Johan de Wet and winemaker Mervyn Williams opening the bottles we were about to taste
There is some superb art in the cellar. This is a bronze of a Bateleur eagle in flight
The crowd assembling, including Richard Rowe, KWV cellarmaster
The wines for tasting. 
From the left: Just bottled but not labelled Bon Vallon 2012 Chardonnay; Limestone Hill 2012 Chardonnay; Finesse 2010; The Site 2011 single vineyard chardonnay; Bateleur 2009; Clos de Mouches from Burgundy, also 2009
Johan gave us the history of the wine
What we came especially to taste: the two chardonnays from the same vines, the 2009 Bateleur from Robertson and the 2009 Clos de Mouches from Burgundy
The eagle in flight
Bennie Stipp,  Dewetshof’s  brilliant marketing Director
Winemaker Mervyn Williams
These wines have a similar fingerprint, you can see their parentage immediately. They are both grown on chalk soils.  The South African wine has more sunshine in it but both wines are dry, crisp and elegant.  Bateleur has a beautiful nose, very perfumed and attractive with wood hints and a much wider spectrum of flavours due to the sunshine it gets.  It has had 12 months on new medium toast Duvelle barrels and is full of citrus and minerality. The Clos de Mouches has less nose and less new oak.  It is more austere and has more minerality but also full of pear William hints, Iimes and elderflower notes, with a nutty element. Both of these wines cry out for food to compliment them.
According to Johann de Wet, the Clos des Mouches is the ancestral home of De Wetshof's Bateleur vineyard; it was the source of the original cuttings for the vines.
During the daily tasting of Chardonnay and other wines, Johann de Wet from De Wetshof presented two wines establishing the Estate's Burgundian origins. Among the Chardonnays we tasted were the Bateleur 2009, South Africa's oldest single-vineyard Chardonnay, made from a vineyard planted 25 years ago. Together with the Bateleur, Johann presented a Burgundian Chardonnay - the Joseph Drouhin Clos des Mouches, also from the 2009 vintage.
The connection between the Bateleur and the Clos des Mouches is that the former wine is made from the same plant material as found on the vineyard of Clos des Mouches outside the Burgundy capital of Beaune. This makes the Clos des Mouches the Bateleur's forefather, and visitors to Wacky Wine will be able to experience the link between these two wines.
"Both vineyards are rich in limestone and planted to the same Chardonnay clone, so Clos des Mouches is a distant relative to the Bateleur," said De Wet in his introduction. "By appraising the wines alongside each other, wine enthusiasts visiting us during Wacky Wine Week-end will be able to see how grapes from the same plant material react differently to wine-making techniques, as well as the climatic variation between ourselves and Burgundy." The Clos de Mouches vines are now 60 years old. They are a Premier Cru vineyard on the Cote de Beaune owned by Joseph Drouhin.  Bateleur Chardonnay is made by Danie de Wet, the owner of Dewetshof.

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