De Wetshof’s Icon Bateleur Takes Michelangelo Double Gold

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 winning a Double Gold medal in this year’s Michelangelo International Wine and Spirits Awards.

Made from a vineyard planted in 1987 on De Wetshof in the Robertson Valley, the Bateleur 2012 was honoured in a unique wine competition where most of the judges are foreign with only one South African palate in the 15 strong line-up.

Accepting the award on behalf of De Wetshof, winemaker Peter de Wet said receiving this Michelangelo Double Gold recognition 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 Chardonnay is made from plant material selected from the Clos des Mouches vineyard outside of Beaune in Burgundy and planted in 1987 to soils and aspect we thought would best reflect De Wetshof’s vineyard terrain,” he said. “This Double Gold award from an esteemed panel of international judges most definitely vindicates the decision to focus on site-specific wines.”

De Wet said that at 27 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 the wine to obtain a low pH in the wine level, allowing this single vineyard Chardonnay to portray a spectrum of flavours framed in elegance and complexity, typical features of a classic Chardonnay. 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 to can mature in the bottle for many years.”