Chardonnay in South Africa has an intriguing history! Until the 1970’s most of the Chardonnay here was heavily infected with leafroll virus, and a group of ambitious growers started to smuggle Chardonnay cuttings in from Europe to have access to new, healthy plant material. Unfortunately, some of the imported material was not in fact Chardonnay, but a different variety called Auxerrois.
Some clean new Chardonnay did also make it into the Cape though, and was planted in very exciting sites, and it is those pioneers and sites we aim to honour with the Leeu Passant Chardonnay.
The grapes for the Stellenbosch Chardonnay are hand-harvested from a parcel of Chardonnay planted in deep loam-rich soils of Helderberg Mountain. Fermentation is with indigenous yeasts and the wine is aged for 18 months in barriques, 30% new.
This classy wine has citrus blossom, flint and salinity on the nose. The palate is packed with citrus zest and crushed shells and has a textured, vibrant and long finish. Best served at 10-12 °C, it will show optimally when decanted within the first 3 years after bottling.
This wine was inspired by the classic red wines of the Cape from the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s which were unique to the culture, terroir, history and tastes of the Cape. At the time, the best of these South African red wines were mostly blends of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and sometimes also a few other varieties. A few of these wines have proven themselves capable of ageing incredibly well, highlighting how South Africa can make authentic, classic, and age worthy wines.
The Dry Red Wine is equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Cinsault from vineyards in Wellington, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch. The Cinsault vineyards are the two oldest registered red wine vineyards in South Africa, dating back to the early 1900's. Grapes are hand-harvested and yields are low. Approximately half the grapes are whole-bunch fermented and all fermentation is with indigenous yeasts. The wine is aged for 18 months in 225L French oak barrels; 30% new.
This beautifully refined and elegant wine has notes of bergamot and a dark violet fragrance. The palate is structured, with fine chalky tannins, hints of spices and herbs, and fresh dark fruits. The finish is dry, vibrant, layered and long. Best served at 16-18°C, this wine will greatly benefit from decanting if drunk within the first 3 to 5 years after bottling and will reward if cellared properly over the next few decades.
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