Cellarmaster : Charles Hopkins
Winery Location: 112 Plattekloof Road, Panorama
Background: Having received some good news recently, encouraged me to open a fine white wine and in my fridge was a bottle of the De Grendel Op Die Berg Chardonnay. Chardonnay is a variety I enjoy especially during the winter months and this particular example has been a favourite of mine since their first vintage, the 2013. Confirming my enjoyment of this wine I tasted it yet again at our Chardonnay/ Pinot Noir Celebration last Friday and kept going back for more!!.
De Grendel is a sprawling farm on the outskirts of Durbanville owned by the Graaf family. Their winemaking team is headed up by cellar master Charles Hopkins who is obsessed with quality and this shows with the continued success he has with his wines. However, he was not content with only making wines from the De Grendel vineyards, and saw the potential of producing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the Witzenberg region near Ceres where the extended Graaf family have a fruit farm, and so an agreement was made to make land available for vineyards. “The fact that the grapes come from a vineyard on top of the Witzenberg Mountains, has special significance for us”, says De Villiers Graaff, owner of De Grendel Wines. “The family has a long history in Ceres, starting with my great uncle Dawie, and now cousin Pieter and brother Robert farming there. The area is unique in the Western Cape and a perfect terroir for chardonnay grapes”. The conditions on this apple farm have proved to be perfect and the vines are cultivated at very high altitude (964m) in soft shale, and together with very cold temperatures makes it ideal for late ripening, giving the grapes all the positive characteristics needed to make this premium chardonnay.
The 2016 vintage was fermented in 225litre French oak barrels after which the wine remained on its lees for a further six months during which time malolactic fermentation was completed.
Result: The result is a complex wine with enticing citrus aromas and subtle hints of butterscotch. The palate offers silky flavours of lemon and lime and it’s here that the cool climate minerality kicks in on the dry yet fresh finish.
When to drink: Now till 2021
Drink with what: We enjoyed it with grilled Norwegian Salmon topped with a tomato and basil pesto.
Expect to pay: R201.00