De Wetshof Limestone Hill Chardonnay 2017

Heavy clay soils rich in limestone allow this Chardonnay to emit optimum varietal expression in a cloak of rich complexity. An un-wooded wine, Limestone Hill has notes of grapefruit and nuts, with the complexity balanced by a nuanced elegance ending with a delicate ripeness.

The American critic Robert Parker describes this wine as such: “The De Wetshof Estate Limestone Hill Chardonnay never sees oak, and offers impeccably pure, refreshing apple, peach and lemon fruit, a lovely leesy richness of texture, and a nutty, chalky, fruit-filled finish of imposing length. Understated and less tropical than some of the better un-oaked Chardonnays, this wine possesses far better balance and sheer drinkability – not to mention more finesse – than 99% of the world’s Chardonnay I have experienced.”

 

As a culinary companion, Limestone Hill is superb with oysters, cream-based pasta dishes and light curries, as well as roast pork and veal dishes.


variety : Chardonnay | 100% Chardonnay
winemaker : Danie de Wet
wine of origin : Robertson
analysis : alc : 14.24 % vol  rs : 4.8 g/l  pH : 3.19  ta : 8.1 g/l  so2 : 111 mg/l  fso2 : 42 mg/l  
type : White  style : Dry  body : Full  taste : Fruity  
pack : Bottle  size : 750ml  closure : Screwcap  

AWARDS

2016 Veritas Wine Awards - Double Gold (unwooded chardonnay)
2015 Veritas Wine Awards - Gold Medal

ageing : 

3 - 5 years

An introduction to De Wetshof Esate
De Wetshof is a third generation wine estate in South Africa’s Robertson Valley, where wine has been made for over 150 years. Here Danie de Wet, proprietor and cellarmaster, is assisted by sons and co-owners Johann (viticulture and marketing) and Peter (winemaker). De Wetshof Estate is a pioneer of noble white wines in South Africa and has also introduced superior red cultivars to the Robertson Wine Valley.

On De Wetshof a firm belief prevails, namely that one cannot know where you are going unless you know where you have come from. This is why the history of De Wetshof’s vineyards plays a profound role in determining present and future wine quality. Since the early 1970’s meticulous records have been kept on each vineyard as to the plants’ reaction to soil-types, irrigation and the vagaries of climate, as well as their development and progress over the years. Each vineyard is thus vinified separately during the wine-making process, the wine-makers having a clear understanding of what the fruit of each vineyard’s labour is going to deliver during a specific year.

This commitment to discovering and determining the various terrains on De Wetshof, as well as an absolute focus on site-specific vineyard management and wine-making, has been an integral part of the De Wetshof ethos from the outset and remains a vital and non-negotiable aspect of all the Estate’s wines.

Product description
Millennia ago the Robertson Valley teamed with termite colonies who built magnificent nests from the soil. Over time these structures and their contents were calcified leading to the region having an exceptionally high limestone content. One of De Wetshof’s vineyards is planted on a hill where the limestone is so abundant it shimmers in low light, and this is where the grapes of the Limestone Hill originate from. 

in the vineyard : 

Origin
Vineyards block numbers 9, 42, 43 & 41. Wine of Origin De Wetshof Estate.

Climate
The Robertson Valley is characterised by cold winters and sunny summers, with an average annual rainfall of 350 - 400mm. In summer a fresh southerly breeze has a cooling effect on the vineyards, allowing the grapes to ripen evenly and in perfect balance. The dry climate and the bracing breeze keep pests to a minimum, resulting in sparse spraying programmes.

Irrigation
Controlled computerised irrigation systems including the monitoring of soil moisture content ensure the vines are given exactly the right amount of water at the right time to produce grapes of optimum ripeness and developed flavours.

Soils
An abundance of free limestone is complemented by a heavy clay component ensuring excellent water-retention and adding structure and fullness to the wines. These soils have the highest free lime content and the highest pH of all the soils on De Wetshof. This adds complexity and structure to the wines, allowing optimum varietal expression with classic Chardonnay flavours of soft grapefruit and nuts.

Vineyard Information
Age of the vines 7 - 21 years
Vines per hectare 4000 and 4500
Rootstock Richter 99 and Richter 110
Planting row 2,4m x 1m and 1,83m X 1,2m
Soil pH 7,8 – 8,5
Trellising style 6 wire fence system cordon with spur pruning.
Yield 5 – 8 tons per hectareTank maturation on thin lees 4 months

about the harvest: 

The grapes are picked in the coolness of morning, with the emphasis on capturing the natural complexities of the Chardonnay grape immediately for the making of this un-wooded wine.

in the cellar : 

Once de-stemming, pressing and overnight settling are complete, the juice is racked-off from the sediment and pumped into stainless steel tanks for the alcohol fermentation. After fermentation, the wine is left on the lees under controlled temperatures. Weekly stirring of the lees ensures maximum flavours are released into the wine until the wines are ready for bottling.

Tank maturation on thin lees 4 months. 

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