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. Nights are chilly and during summer months a mist often shrouds the vineyards until late morning. The dry climate and bracing breeze keep pests to a minimum, resulting in sparse spraying programmes. Soils rich in limestone and broken mountain rock on De Wetshof’s site-specific vineyards allow this wine to emit optimum varietal expression.
Age of the vines: 10-20 years.
The grapes are picked in the coolness of morning, and the emphasis is on capturing the natural complexities of the Chardonnay grape immediately for the making of this unwooded wine.
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 less under controlled temperatures. Weekly stirring of the lees ensures maximum flavours are released into the wine until ready for bottling.
Ageing potential: 6–12 years (say the producer; we think a little less, but there are marked parallels with the ageability of Chablis).
Danie de Wet pioneered this noble cultivar in South Africa and this Chardonnay is a fresh and expressive, unwooded version. Bon Vallon has a brisk and clean freshness leading into a wide spectrum of classic flavours including citrus, wild flowers and grilled nuts, with a nuanced minerality on the aftertaste. The nose is delicate with aromas of lemon, honeysuckle blossom and peach. The wine was matured on its lees to produce a vibrant, lemony dry wine with a yeasty and delicate nutty finish.
ABV = 13.5%.