De Wetshof Limestone Hill Chardonnay
2015 Veritas Wine Awards – Gold Medal
Heavy clay soils rich in limestone allow this Chardonnay to emit optimum varietal expression in a cloak of rich complexity. An un-wooded wine, Limestone Hill has notes of grapefruit and nuts, with the complexity balanced by a nuanced elegance ending with a delicate ripeness.
The American critic Robert Parker describes this wine as such: “The De Wetshof Estate Limestone Hill Chardonnay never sees oak, and offers impeccably pure, refreshing apple, peach and lemon fruit, a lovely leesy richness of texture, and a nutty, chalky, fruit-filled finish of imposing length. Understated and less tropical than some of the better un-oaked Chardonnays, this wine possesses far better balance and sheer drinkability – not to mention more finesse – than 99% of the world’s Chardonnay I have experienced.”
Vineyards block numbers 9, 42, 43 & 41. Wine of Origin De Wetshof Estate.
The Robertson Valley is characterised by cold winters and sunny summers, with an average annual rainfall of 350 – 400mm. In summer a fresh southerly breeze has a cooling effect on the vineyards, allowing the grapes to ripen evenly and in perfect balance. The dry climate and the bracing breeze keep pests to a minimum, resulting in sparse spraying programmes.
Controlled computerised irrigation systems including the monitoring of soil moisture content ensure the vines are given exactly the right amount of water at the right time to produce grapes of optimum ripeness and developed flavours.
An abundance of free limestone is complemented by a heavy clay component ensuring excellent water-retention and adding structure and fullness to the wines. These soils have the highest free lime content and the highest pH of all the soils on De Wetshof. This adds complexity and structure to the wines, allowing optimum varietal expression with classic Chardonnay flavours of soft grapefruit and nuts.
Age of the vines 7 – 21 years
Vines per hectare 4000 and 4500
Rootstock Richter 99 and Richter 110
Planting row 2,4m x 1m and 1,83m X 1,2m
Soil pH 7,8 – 8,5
Trellising style 6 wire fence system cordon with spur pruning.
Yield 5 – 8 tons per hectare
Once de-stemming, pressing and overnight settling are complete, the juice is racked-off from the sediment and pumped into stainless steel tanks for the alcohol fermentation. After fermentation, the wine is left on the lees under controlled temperatures. Weekly stirring of the lees ensures maximum flavours are released into the wine until the wines are ready for bottling.
Tank maturation on thin lees 4 months.