The 2021 European wine awards season kicked-off extraordinarily well for De Wetshof Estate in Robertson with three of its Chardonnays raking in four golden awards at two auspicious wine shows.
In the Chardonnay du Monde held in France, one of the world’s most famous international competitions for Chardonnay, the De Wetshof Lesca Chardonnay 2020 achieved a gold medal, also taking its place among the top 10 wines at this year’s competition. De Wetshof’s famous Limestone Hill 2020, one of South Africa’s most awarded unwooded Chardonnays, also garnered a gold medal at the Chardonnay du Monde.
The De Wetshof Lesca, which is marketed in South Africa under the name Finesse, was one of the first Chardonnays in the De Wetshof range, having been launched back in 1989.
This year saw the 28th consecutive running of the Chardonnay du Monde for Best Chardonnay in the World attracting entries from 36 countries with 604 wines entered. Only 196 medals were awarded, of which 51 were gold.
The De Wetshof Lesca Chardonnay 2020 also won a gold medal at the recent Mundus Vini Competition in Germany, joining De Wetshof The Site Chardonnay 2018 in a two-gold medal showing for De Wetshof at this show. Vines for the Lesca (Finesse) grow on rocky, gravelly soils on De Wetshof Estate. The soils are characterised by the high levels of limestone, one of the features of the Robertson Wine Valley. Vineyards growing in soils rich in limestone produce grapes of balanced pH levels that add complexity to the wine as well as ensuring their ability to age.
The wine is mostly fermented in 2nd and 3rd fill barrels, specially selected to express the fruit nuances in the wine and subdue the stern effect of oak. After fermentation the wine ages in the barrels for 10 months. Stirring of the lees is done every week to add texture and mouth-feel.
“It is very rewarding to experience the critical acclaim the Lesca (Finesse) Chardonnay enjoys three decades after its first release,” says Johann de Wet, CEO of De Wetshof. “With its own vineyard showing the terroir through which to express its unique personality and its own wine-making style in the cellar, Finesse is an integral part of the De Wetshof family. Consistent, reliable and a pleasure to be in the company of.”
The Site Chardonnay 2018, which delivered the other Mundus Vini gold for De Wetshof, is made from a single vineyard planted to rocky gravel soils with a large percentage of clay. The wine spends one year in French oak and has been recognised as one of the leading South African Chardonnays due to its focussed expression of Robertson terroir.
“These awards have ensured 2021 has gotten off to a good start for De Wetshof,” says De Wet. “We are still in the final throes of harvest, and these accolades provide the team with added inspiration for the future.”