De Wetshof Estate The Site Chardonnay Bags Top 100 SA Wine Spot

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A commitment to site-specific Chardonnay helped De Wetshof Estate in Robertson achieve Top 100 Wine and Double Platinum status at the recent Top 100 SA/National Wine Challenge Awards. This award went to The Site 2016, one of the five Chardonnays in De Wetshof’s range of wines made from a grape variety the estate helped introduce to the South African wine industry more than three decades ago.

At the same competition, De Wetshof’s popular and critically acclaimed Finesse Chardonnay 2018, a wooded wine and one of the first made under the estate label, was awarded a Double Gold Medal.

According to De Wetshof CEO Johann de Wet, a Top 100 SA award is not only recognition for the De Wetshof vineyards and cellar-team, but also of value to the consumer who has to navigate his or her way through an ever-growing range of wines.

“With its stringent judging process by local and international experts, the Top 100 list affords recognition of which any successful producer can feel justifiably proud,” he says. “South Africa has never been making as many excellent wines as it is doing now, especially in the Chardonnay category where our country is recognised as the best Chardonnay producer in the New World. To thus see a wine of yours rise to the occasion amidst so much competition from wide range of producers representing an astounding diversity of terroir, site and winemaking excellence, is a great honour.”

De Wet says the 2016 vintage proved to be a very fine one for Chardonnay, despite it being one of the vintages in the midst of the infamous Western Cape drought. A slightly later harvest saw terrific fruit expression when the picking dates arrived, allowing for these wines to be cloaked in complexity.

“Like all our Chardonnays, the grapes for The Site are sourced from a vineyard specifically suited to the style of wine that is going to be bottled,” says De Wet.  

“Our approach to making this wine is unashamedly classic in order to do justice to the terrific terroir. The soils are gravelly, broken mountain rock soils rich in limestone and with a high pH allowing this vineyard to evoke elegant fruit flavours characteristic of a classic Chardonnay.”

The wine is aged for 12 months in new French 225l French barriques to elevate the flavour profile as well as to give structure and allow for maturation potential of over 15 years.

De Wet said the Top 100 Award also underscored the Robertson Wine Region’s ability to make world-class Chardonnay.

“This is definitely our key variety in terms of wine quality,” says De Wet, “and the pioneering work that began 40 years ago in establishing the royal Burgundian white variety in our limestone-rich and cool terroir is paying-off in terms of the world-class Chardonnays coming from our area.”