Tough and dry, 2015 Vintage delivers quality wines at De Wetshof

The 2015 vintage was known for its early start to picking and the dry, windy conditions in the De Wetshof vineyards. The resultant wines, however, are proving to be of exceptional quality – according to winemaker Peter de Wet far better than he had originally anticipated.

“It was an erratic harvest season,” says Peter. “Picking began about 10 days earlier than average due to the warm spring. And then as we finished bringing in our white grapes, the ripening of the major red varieties slowed down and their picking dates were pushed back.”

But a few months down the line, the erratic harvest is proving to have delivered wines of balance, refinement and superb structure.

“The Chardonnay batches from site-specific vineyards are showing a linearity, with their individual terroirs expressing purity and elegance of the respective wines,” says Peter. “Yes, we emphasise the fact that our wines originate from separate parcels each with an own fingerprint. Complementing this is the golden thread of De Wetshof terroir running through all the wines.”

Wines from clay-based soils are expressing terrific complexity and balance with citrus and nutty characters, while those Chardonnays grown on stone and slate exude length and minerality all in wines with fine elegance.

“It’s all about the pH, acid and sugar being in balance,” says Peter. “Conditions were very dry and windy during harvest, but also relatively cool without those fierce heat-waves, allowing the vines to remain calm and resulting in balanced fruit.”

With Peter being responsible for taking De Wetshof in a new direction in terms of red Bordeaux varieties, he is particularly pleased with the 2015 vintage Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon currently lying in barrel.

“These reds have only been in wood for three months, but I am loving what I am seeing,” says Peter. “South African Merlot gets a bad rap for being a bit green, but we are not seeing it here. The wine is sumptuous and showing

powerful bright fruit, with a noticeable elegance to the mouthfeel – even now, tasted from a new French oak barrel.”

The Cabernet Sauvignon, he says, is more restrained and classic, and like the Merlot expresses a freshness that bodes well for the next year’s barrel maturation.

If he had to single out one show-stopper from the 2015 vintage?

“No surprises – Bateleur. The old vineyard is down to about three tons per hectare, but the wine currently in wood is going to be something truly special,” he says.