Full-bodied, deliciously complex, terroir-driven and fruit-focused. Tropical aromas are followed by notes of ripe pineapple and pear on the palate. The rich fruit is framed by soft acids and steely minerality.
The Chardonnay grape has been popular in South African vineyards since the 1980s. Chardonnay is known for its ability to grow well in a wide variety of soils. It enjoys the dry climate of South Africa, although care must be taken to avoid the warmth making the grapes too acidic. This lends well to the cool evenings of the Robertson Valley wine region. While many Chardonnays have high aromatic complexity, this is usually due to winemaking techniques (particularly the use of oak) rather than the variety’s intrinsic qualities. Malolactic fermentation gives distinctive buttery aromas. Fermentation and/or maturation in oak barrels contributes notes of vanilla, smoke and hints of sweet spices such as clove and cinnamon. Extended lees contact while in barrel imparts biscuity, doughy flavours.
The Robertson Valley wine region is locally known as the Valley of Wine and Roses. Famous for both red and white wines, the valley benefits from the cooling effects of the Beede River running through it. The large diurnal shift, which allows the grapes to cool at night, results in wines with crisp acidity and bold flavours.
The Estate vineyards are planted in stony and rough terrain, in an east-west orientation to best mitigate the scorching heat of the midday sun. 6060 vine/ha rows are angled into the sunset on very gentle, southerly slopes. Special care is taken in the vineyard to ensure optimal phenolic ripeness, while still allowing enough midday shade to keep the acidity in the grapes for balancing freshness.
True to its moniker, the Wild Yeast Chardonnay is fermented in underground concrete tanks using only native, wild yeasts that occur naturally on the skins of the grapes. An extended time on lees provides additional complexity and texture. This slow, volatile process, which can take anywhere from 6 to 9 months, is risky but results in incredibly expressive wine with a wisdom that is unattainable in wines made using commercial yeasts.