Daschbosch, the premium label under Breedekloof winery uniWines, has expanded its range of terroir-specific and innovative wines with the addition of a Clairette Blanche made from 42 year-old vines and a pioneering Skin Contact dry white, a blend of Chenin Blanc and Muscat d’Alexandrie.
According to Pieter Cronjé, marketing director for uniWines, the Daschbosch range is the result of the extraordinary pockets of excellent vineyards found among uniWines 50 farmer-members who supply the winery with some 70 000 tons of grapes per year.
“Some of our members’ farms are over 150 years old, and although they are commercial and profitable agriculture entities, we have over the past few years discovered some unique, site-specific vineyards, including a few that warranted classification under South Africa’s Old Vine Project (OVP),” says Cronjé.
“This has enabled uniWines to create a range of limited-volume, exclusive wines showcasing individual terroir expression of the Cape’s Breedekloof region. The latest additions to the Daschbosch range, the Avon Clairette Blanche and the Skin Contact, both from the 2018 vintage, add to the label’s distinctiveness – the former due to the variety and the age of the vines and the latter due to the winemaking technique and the unique blend of Chenin Blanc and Muscat d’Alexandrie.”
Once a workhorse of the South Africa wine industry, Clairette Blanche is a rare grape today with only 197ha left in the country. The Daschboch Avon Clairette Blanche is named after the Breedekoof farm where 42 year old vineyard grows and is only one of two commercially available Clairette Blanche wines in the country.
Daschbosch winemaker WS Visagie says that it is a great privilege to work with fruit from such an old vineyard. “The Clairette Blanche vineyard on Avon yields between 900kg and 1.5t per hectare, so we literally make every berry count,” he says.
The grapes are whole-bunch pressed and settled for 24hours after which the juice is racked to 4th fill French oak barrels until fermentation is complete. The wine spends six months on the thick lees with regular ‘bâtonnage’ after which it is racked and aged in the same barrels for a further period of two to three months.
“Concentrated fruit-expression, as we get from this old Clairette Blanche vineyard, gives the wine extraordinary complexity,” says Visagie. “Everything you taste in the wine begins and ends with the vineyard. As a winemaker it is a real honour to work with old vine grapes such as these, and for Daschbosch it is an adventure discovering the vineyard gems stuck away on our members’ farms.”
The newly released Daschbosch Skin Contact 2018 combines two of the Breedekloof’s stalwart varieties in a wine made in a method during which the wine is fermented and aged for six months on its skins for added texture and depth of flavour.
“The wine is a blend of 70% Chenin Blanc and 30% Muscat d’Alexandrie, known locally as Hanepoot,” says Visagie. “Although Hanepoot is better known in the form of a fortified sweet wine, when fermented dry it adds a gorgeous floral bouquet and Muscat flavour profile.”
After hand-sorting, the grapes are de-stemmed and crushed. The juice is allowed to ferment on the skins after which the wine and skins are left untouched for a further six months before racked, blended and bottled.
According to Cronjé, the latest two additions to Daschbosch add to a portfolio which is rapidly becoming known for quality and focus. “The Daschbosch Hanepoot 2015, made from a vineyard planted in 1900, received five stars in this year’s Platter’s Wine Guide which vindicates the steps uniWines has taken to introduce a premium range showcasing the pedigree and viticulture heritage of the Breedekloof region, as well as allowing our winemakers to express themselves. We look forward to unearthing more special vineyard sites in future to continue the footprint of the Daschbosch range.”