Thursday, June 13, 2019

Robertson Wine Valley's Wacky Wine Weekend 4. De Wetshof

Our next stop, after ExDiem and Ashton, was De Wetshof for a comparative tasting of Chardonnays from the area
The view up the jacaranda avenue is superb when it is flowering
The very elegant buildings and fountain of De Wetshof
We assembled inside the festival tasting area in the cellar
and made some new friends
The wines in the tasting
This is the list of the wines, in the order in which we tasted. A tasting like this really highlights how the different terroirs in the valley affect the wine. Robertson has several soil layers from sandstone to shale, down to the limestone and clay layers. The minerality of these soils does show in the wines and those with limestone clearly show citrus notes. Robertson is perceived as a hot area; it is not, the vines are cooled on summer afternoons by the South Easter wind and winters are cold, especially at night (as we found) and there can be frost. 27% of SA's Chardonnay is grown in the Breede River Valley and this is its largest growing area
The tasting was held in one of the underground cellar rooms and conducted by Johann de Wet, CEO of De Wetshof. All the wines showed well, whether wooded or unwooded and all showed that minerality. The nuances in the wines from different areas, different price ranges, different climates are so informative. The two that really stood out for us were the Excelsior Unwooded Chardonnay - slightly herbal on the nose with lees, it has a crisp tingle on the tongue with lemon and lime flavours, chalky minerality and some nutty flavours on the end and the De Wetshof The Site wooded Chardonnay which spends 12 months in new blonde toasted barrels. This has lovely golden fruit initially on the nose, then loquats and naartjie. It is full of flavour with grapefruit and lemons and lime on the end. Richness with length and complexity; this is a definite food wine. Of interest is that Excelsior and De Wetshof estates are almost next door to each other and the de Wet families who own these two farms are related. This part of the valley is where the first Chardonnays in South Africa were planted. Obviously a terroir we really like!
Journalists Anel Grobler and Jan Laubscher enjoying the tasting
One of our favourite sculptures at De Wetshof - a Bateleur eagle, which gave its name to De Wetshof's Premium Chardonnay
The sun was setting in the West as we left the farm. Thank you for a very interesting and enjoyable tasting; we love it when we learn more about the complexity of our industry and this was very informative and helpful
And clouds coming in hinted that the weather next day or even overnight might be wet. It was
All content ©  John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus

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