When you are a lover of Chardonnay, De Wetshof wine estate is one cellar you can’t give a miss. A few weeks ago a few members of the “Come wine with us” team and myself visited winemakerPeter De Wet of De Wetshof. We were treated to an amazing wine and cellar tour, as well as 4 bottles of Chardonnay to taste at our next “Come with us” evening
Our 4 bottles “blind folded” for the tasting .
As many of you know Chardonnay is a typical white wine variety that can be made in 200 styles! The theme for this weeks “Come wine with us” evening was Classic Chardonnay’s: Four Chardonnays, four different styles and four different price groups. To make for an even more interesting evening the wines were blind tasted.
Our pallet platter was a selection of roasted and salted almonds, black forest ham, smoked mackerel fish, bree, mature cheddar, fontina, maasdam, and almond and orange Lindt 70% dark chocolate.
Our Pallet Platter…
Two new cheeses were added to this evening’s pallet platter – Fontina and Maasdam cheese (both purchased from Giovani’s Deli in Greenpoint). Fontina is an Italian cow’s milk cheese produced in the Aosta Valley in the Alps and first recipes of the cheese date back to the 12th century. It has a milk fat content of around 45% and is pungent in flavour. Maasdam is a Dutch cheesemade in a Swiss-style. The cheese was created to compete with the popular Swiss Emmental by being less expensive and quicker to produce. Less potent than the Fontina cheese but also soft, cheesy and bursts with flavour.
Each member received a tasting sheet where they had to rate each wine by the folllowing attributes: Look, Nose, Body, Food and what they would be prepared to pay for the bottle.
All of us getting ready for the tasting…
Marketing babe brought along the latest addition to our group…. “Bird”
Now to the tasting…
The first bottle was a very crisp Chardonnay, lightly wooded with very pungent citrus flavours and a long pallet. “Very refreshing,” were the remarks of both Marketing babe and Dietitian babe. It could easily take the place of a Sauvignon Blanc that can be drunk on a regular basis due to its versatility.The Fontina cheese was a match made in heaven when it came to paring. The creaminess of the cheese balanced very well with the wine and awesome flavours were released. On average the wine scored a 3 ½ out of 5 stars according to the allocated criteria and the average price was stated as R85.
Wine no 2 was a slightly more wooded Chardonnay with a bit more body. Finance guy and Lawyer girl commented that it had hints of spice on the nose, normally indicating that the there was some wood contact during the production process. This bottle was less finer on the pallet and the characters more suttle and softer than bottle no 1 which was more crisp and fresh. The Dutch cheese was a winner with this bottle of wine as well as the smoked Macrel and Black forest ham. The food verdict was that the wine went very well with fatty proteins and creamy cheeses. It was a very well balanced wine and improved on character when combined with food. An overall score of 4 stars was awarded and the average price that would be paid for was R150.
Wine no 3 was a wine with definitive characters of a full bodied Chardonnay. Very well balanced lemon and almond notes on the nose. All agreed that it was a very complex wine and not all flavours and aromas experienced could be pin pointed. The wine was escribed by some and herby and others as lemon butter, but either way this wine really outshited the senses. Surprisingly, all the pallet plater foods worked well with this wine, including the dark chocolate. Absolute decadence!
To take the taste buds to another level, we melted some butter and added herbs du Provence (mixture of fennel, basil, thyme and lavender) and some roasted almonds. Pallets were lined with the mixture and then introduced to a sip of the wine. It was as if the herbs were bursting with flavour on the pallet – A real flavour explosion. This complex wine is definitely a world match to any food. The wine scored an average of 4 ½ stars and a average of R250 per bottle.
The almonds in Provincial herb butter that busted with flavour on our taste buds when we tasted wine no 3
Dietitian babe and Stats guy enjoying a nibble.
Wine no 4 was a wine that all felt was a good combination of the different styles of Chardonnay tasted thus far. On the nose there were notes of citrus floral’s body wise it was well balanced and complex with a lot of the same characters as wine no 2. We really found it quite fascinating that one cultivar can be made in so many different styles! The wine scored an average of 3 1/2 stars and a average of R130 paying for a bottle.
We struggled the whole evening pairing the Cheddar cheese and believe it or not it was quite a good match with this bottle of wine.
Wine No 1-4 from the right
Then the final verdict… revealing the four bottles of wine. Please note that the price range of the wines were mentioned prior to the tasting .i.e. between R50 and R250 per bottle.
Wine No 1 was the “Limestone Hill” Chardonnay. An average rating of 3 ½ stars and people willing to pay R85 for the bottle. The actual cellar price is R64! Bargain!
Wine No 2 was the “De Wetshof Site” Chardonnay. An average rating of 4 stars and people willing to pay R150. The actual cellar price R112! Well priced for the value it portrays.
Wine No 3 was the flagship “De Wetshof Bateleur” Chardonnay. An average of 4 stars for its complexity. An average of R250 willing to pay per bottle. Spot on cellar price is R250!
Wine No 4 was the Finesse Chardonnay. An average of 3 ½ stars and people willing to pay R130 per bottle. Actual price R78 cellar price. Great value for money!
A fun filled evening and thorough enjoyment of De Wetshof Estate’s prestigious Chardonnays was had by all. What I love about South African wines is that its not always the most expensive bottle of wine that’s the most enjoyable bottle of wine. Its finding the bottle of wine that you love and that suits your pocket that’s the winner at the end of the day.
Till our next “Come wine with us” evening… happy drinking!
Lots of foodie and wine love
If you want more info on the health benefits of cheese check out this blog post
by Jen Reviews