Chamonix Estate White Blend 2018 Shows Class Of Dry, Hot Vintage

The latest release of the Chamonix Estate White Wine, made from Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon growing on this Franschhoek estate’s mountain vineyards represents an outstanding Cape white wine vintage, namely 2018 when the region was at the end of its crippling four-year drought. According to Niel Bruwer, Chamonix’s winemaker, the quality of the wines emerging from the 2018 vintage is testimony to the resilience of the vine as well its ability to produce extraordinary quality fruit under trying natural conditions.

“The 2018 vintage was characterised by the dry, hot conditions that had the Cape solidly in their grip during the 2017 growing year,” says Bruwer. “Winter of 2017 was the fourth consecutive dry winter on Chamonix,” he says. “By late spring we were expecting a truly challenging year due to the lack of rain, despite the fact that things cooled down before harvest. But once harvest began, temperatures climbed and the small berries and light yields reflected the challenges nature threw our way.”

Niel Bruwer, Chamonix’s winemaker

The Chamonix Estate White 2018 is a blend of 69% Sauvignon Blanc and 31% Sémillon. For the wine’s making, whole grape bunches are selected on sorting-tables, destemmed, gently crushed and fermented in French oak barrels for between 10 and 15 days. The wine remains on the lees, in barrel for 12 months, with 20% of the French oak being new. Some 20% of the wine goes through malolactic fermentation. Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon components are kept in separate barrel before blending, after which the wine is bottled. A further 10 months bottle-fermentation allows both components to integrate harmoniously.

Bruwer says that Chamonix’s Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon vineyards are set on distinctive sites allowing for a style of wine from these noble varieties for which the estate has become so well-known. “Sandy, loam soils have a good element of lime with some shale,” he says. “Add to this the fact that the vines are situated at 400m above-sea-level on a mountain ridge with constantly shifting air-flow, and you have unique terroir that has proved to deliver excellent white wine.

The Chamonix Estate White 2018 combines the exuberant fresh tropical and green elements of Sauvignon Blanc with the glycerol-like fulfilling depth of Sémillon. “These two varieties are, as far as I am concerned, natural partners, hence the traditional home of this blend being the great region of Bordeaux,” says Bruwer. “It is a wine of multi-dimensions, offering cool white wine drinkability but with complexity and palate-weight that commands attention. The nature of this wine ensures it will benefit from further ageing of between five and seven years, taking on myriad nuances not discernible in its youth. We see the Estate White as an addition to the reputation the Cape has garnered for making this style of white wine from two grape varieties that have truly found themselves a home at the southern tip of Africa.”