Calcrete wine – A region defined by its wine

by | Nov 15, 2023 | Article, News

Backed by almost half a century of Chardonnay making between Robertson and Bonnievale, the custodians of different Chardonnay making family estates aligned themselves to launch Calcrete, a category of minerally unwooded Chardonnay that defines their region.

Weltevrede Calcrete, De Wetshof Calcrete, Rietvallei Calcrete, Excelsior Calcrete, Van Loveren Calcrete. And more will follow from future vintages. Some will mention Chardonnay with Calcrete on the label, others will merely state Calcrete, confident that in time everyone will know Calcrete is unwooded Chardonnay, but not just any unwooded Chardonnay.

The wine regions of the Old-World countries are known for their singular focus, where regions are often defined by one particular wine style. Consider an area like Chablis in northern Burgundy, France, where Chablis wines made of Chardonnay are world famous for their elegant minerality and food friendliness, always subtle, never heavy.

Their terroir is key to the resulting wine. Over the past 40 years the Robertson wine area in South Africa has also emerged with increased prominence of lime-likeness and minerality in their unwooded Chardonnays. Over the years winemaking families of the estates along the roads between Bonnievale and Robertson have managed to offer unwooded Chardonnays with clarity and minerality, so much so that it defines the region.

Geologically, Calcrete refers to the white deposits of limestone in soils. From this terroir the Calcrete wines draw their unique character, their purity, their sophistication and minerality. Chardonnay wines labeled as Calcrete are specially selected from the Bonnievale-Robertson region. They are a true expression of local minerality, the forté of this region. Calcrete can’t be produced anywhere else but within its boundaries and only by approved wine estates who have proved over decades to have presented Calcrete-like Chardonnay in its stylistic singularity.

Wines labeled as Calcrete represent Chardonnay in its purest form and express terroir with great clarity and minerality. Call it a mouth-watering tension, call it flintiness, steeliness or elegance, a cool sensation on the pallet, the taste of gunflint. Minerality is the descriptive word to express that tight purity and irresistible invitation offered by Calcrete Chardonnay to take another sip, to want a little more.

Calcrete Chardonnay can be described as elegant, zesty and minimalist, linear, pale lime-green, luminescent, radiant, crystalline, with a vibrant fragrance of lime, calcium rocks and a salty, chalky taste.  Calcrete Chardonnay is described as the oyster of wines: Birthed in hardship, a minerality reminiscent of oystershell, a vibrant taste of fresh saltiness and a squeeze of lime, finishing with an elegantly coated texture on the palate.

You will find this one word – Calcrete – on labels of various estates from this region. Calcrete Chardonnay is exclusive to the limestone-rich wine appellation between Bonnievale and Robertson. Here the distinctive terroir ranges from calcareous outcrops to arid, broken shale, both features resulting from ancient petrified maritime deposits.  Calcrete defines the wines from this unique Chardonnay region, their crystalline character, nuances of wet stone, saline palate and oyster shell minerality being highlighted by the linear unwooded profile.

Weltevrede, De Wetshof, Rietvallei, Excelsior, Van Loveren. These are generational Chardonnay producers between Robertson and Bonnievale who have gone the extra mile to select the purist Chardonnay from their terroir for the making of Calcrete. Together, these wine growers form the Calcrete Custodians who will hold one another accountable for alignment with the standard of Calcrete.

Calcrete is a registered name protected as Trademark. Only approved members of the Calcrete Custodians will be allowed to use the name for individually approved unwooded Chardonnay lots from Wine of Origin Robertson. We value a track record of winemakers making a minerally style Chardonnay from our limestone terroir.

Although we endeavor to be inclusive as Calcrete makers, we value accuracy more. Winemakers of Calcrete accept that their final wine will ultimately be judged and approved by the panel of Calcrete Custodians.

The vision is to be excellent at offering the one wine that is so true to our terroir, the wine that will ever be associated with the terroir and the lifestyle of our valley. Our vision is for Calcrete to own its own space in the market as a separate category with its own Calcrete shelf and Calcrete heading on wine lists.

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