De Wetshof Estate’s flagship wine, the Bateleur Chardonnay, reinforced
its position as one of South Africa’s leading wines made from this
classic Burgundian grape by taking top honours in the Chardonnay
category at this year’s Novare SA Terroir Wine Awards.
Made from a vineyard planted in 1987 on De Wetshof in the Robertson Valley, the Bateleur 2009 was honoured in a competition committed to choosing wines reflecting terroir and a sense of place.
Accepting the award on behalf of De Wetshof, winemaker Peter de Wet said receiving the Novare SA Terroir Wine Award for Best Chardonnay was of great importance to the farm as terroir and site-specific wine production has always been the focus of all aspects of De Wetshof’s viticultural and wine-making activities.
“The Bateleur 2009 is made from plant material chosen from the Clos des Mouches vineyard outside of Beaune in Burgundy which was planted in 1987 to soils and aspect we thought would best reflect De Wetshof’s vineyard terrain,” he said. “This SA Terroir Award most definitely vindicates the decision and we are most honoured to receive this recognition.”
De Wet said that at 26 years of age, the Bateleur vineyard is not generous with its yield. “It hardly gives us two tons per hectare, and quite frankly we have considered removing the old vines,” he said. “But when each year’s grapes arrive at the cellar and we taste the expression of soil and site in the young wines, it is agreed that the Bateleur deserves another chance. And the fruit keeps getting better.”
The unique Bateleur vineyard is planted on gravel soils originating from mountain rock rich in limestone and clay. Said De Wet: “The high pH soils allow for a low pH wine, giving this single vineyard Chardonnay a spectrum of flavours framed in elegance and complexity, typical features of this classic variety. Citrus and pear-drop notes are complemented by an intriguing nuttiness, with elegant citrus on the finish. The Bateleur improves in dimension and complexity with age and under the correct storage conditions it has proved itself as being able to mature in the bottle for many years.”
The Novare SA Terroir Wine Awards honour the wines that truly portray South Africa’s wine-growing areas. According to international wine judge Dave Hughes, this makes it “the most exclusive competition on the international wine scene”.
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