Chamonix Estate Releases Maiden Vintage from 2020 Vintage

Chamonix Estate, the award-winning wine farm in the Franschhoek Valley, has bottled its first wine from the highly-rated 2020 vintage, with the Chamonix Unoaked Chardonnay 2020 ready for release once South Africa’s Covid-lockdown is over.

According to Chamonix winemaker Neil Bruwer, his first harvest after taking over the winemaking reins has delivered a wine expressing the heritage of Chamonix Chardonnay as well as the quality of the 2020 vintage.

“The class of the 2020 vintage was determined by a stunning variety of diverse climatic conditions during the vineyards’ growing and the grapes’ ripening seasons,” says Bruwer. “Last year’s icy winter set the tone, and combined with the even grown season, grape quality was superb, the true extent now being evident in the quality of our first wines.”

Grapes for the Chamonix Unoaked Chardonnay are selected from vineyards situated at between 380m and 400m above sea-level growing in sandy loam soils that are threaded with runs of clay and lime. 

“For optimum expression of Chardonnay character, vineyard planting is quite dense at between 4 500 and 5 000 vines per hectare, ensuring the vines compete for sustenance and thus bear fruit of concentrated and distinctive profile,” says Bruwer. 

Purity and simplicity are the key elements when making Chamonix’s Unoaked Chardonnay, says Bruwer. “Grapes were picked at between 21.5°balling and 22°balling, soft-crushed with the must immediately separated from the skins and fermented at between 16°C-18° C for two weeks in stainless steel tanks. Because of the intense Chardonnay character of Chamonix’s grapes you don’t want to overdo lees-contact as we want an Unoaked wine with distinctive freshness and vibrancy. We thus keep the wine on the lees for 16 weeks, with careful stirrings to add texture and essence.”

Bruwer says that like many Chardonnay producers, Chamonix is finding a growing demand for unwooded wine.

“Not at the expense of oaked Chardonnay, but consumers are definitely seeing a new side to Chardonnay in the offering of unwooded wines,” says Bruwer. “Our Unoaked Chardonnay has freshness and energy in the citrus and mineral components, but being Chardonnay there is an intriguing complexity brought-on by floral and nutty notes which add dimension and appeal to the wine. Unwooded wines have definitely garnered new legions of fans for Chardonnay in general, and Chamonix looks forward to satisfying the demand with our 2020 Unoaked wine.”