Youthful Beauty in Chamonix’s Early Wines

Top image: Neil Bruwer, Chamonix winemaker.

The proof is in the pudding. So, with all the hype surrounding the quality of the Cape 2021 wine vintage and the fostering of a focused sense of duty, I ventured into the Chamonix winery in Franschhoek to check-out this year’s young wines.

From the outside, things are looking good for vintage 2021. Producers’ organization Vinpro recently issued a media release underscoring the health of this new vintage, both in terms of grape volume and early signs of wine quality. The latter resulted from a cold 2020 winter and a cool, mild summer which led to slow ripening of grapes, something winemakers deem favourable to ensuring balanced chemistry in the fruit as well as completeness of flavour development.

Truth be told, a cellar filled with young wines in tank and barrel, just-fermented and some still going through malolactic fermentation, daunts me. Only wine professionals, mostly winemakers, have the tasting equipment to cut through the aggressive young acids and the meaty clods of dying yeast cells that prevail in these raw, underdone wines. The promise and fulfillment are distant, unattainable to the average casual drinker used to imbibing finished wines.

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