De Grendel, Op Die Berg Chardonnay 2021
960 metres above sea level, high on the Witzenberg Mountain in Ceres, these vines are blessed with incredible climatic conditions.
Cool nights and warm days allow for slow ripening, leading to deliciously concentrated fruit, with a clear cool-climate influence.
The wine is barrel fermented and aged on the lees, adding complexity and texture.
As a result, the wine has an expressive bouquet of lemon, grapefruit and Golden Delicious apples, with a silky, supple texture. It’s creamy, balanced and utterly delicious.
Ceres Plateau, Durbanville
High on the Witzenberg Mountain range in Ceres, at an altitude of 960 meters above sea level, this unique ‘appellation’ exhibits South Africa’s only truly continental climate with winter temperatures frequently dropping below freezing. The cooler night-time temperatures and hotter daytime temperatures during the growing season results in slower ripening and more concentrated fruit. Ceres fruit displays surprising cooler climate characteristics in comparison to other regions of the Western Cape.
Well-drained, soft, yellow shale soils. In winter, the vineyard soil is often covered with a layer of snow which provides the perfect conditions for dormancy of the vines, a much-needed resting and recovery period before the growth season starts.
The wine has a medium lemon colour. On the nose, it offers a pronounced bouquet of lemon and grapefruit citrus and Golden Delicious apples, underscored by crispy quince that follows through to the palate. Low tannins, gentle oak and a medium-plus weight with full flavour intensity provides a silky texture and long finish.
Handpicked at the break of dawn, carefully selected grapes are destemmed, crushed and lightly pressed at De Grendel with a recovery of only 650 litres per ton. After two days of settling, the juice is inoculated and transferred to 225 litre French Oak barrels for fermentation of which 1/3 is new, 1/3 is second fill and 1/3 is third fill. The wine is barrel aged ‘sur lie’ for 5 months whilst undergoing ‘bâtonnage’. Bâtonnage is the method of stirring up the lees and takes place twice a week before malolactic fermentation and once a month after malolactic fermentation to enhance the mouth feel and structure of the wine.
An oaked Chardonnay will be complemented by slightly creamier dishes such as buttered chicken, or butternut tortellini with shavings of rich Pecorino cheese. For something simpler to prepare, enjoy it with a classic French onion soup served with toasted buttered and garlic bruschetta.
Try it with a classic French Onion soup, to emphasise the creamy richness of the wine.