Citronella and lemongrass aromatics envelop more subtle primary fruit that include peach skin and naartjie peel. Then also hints of vanilla, baked apple, marzipan and honey. The palate possesses verve and savoury grip, with elements of crushed river pebble, rock salt and flint, but also a grainy, pithy textural element akin to walnut and hard pear. There is real weight and mouth-filling substance, even at 12,5% ABV with complexity gained from lees contact and completely integrated oak. Bone dry, savoury finish.
Clos du Ciel
CURRENT VINTAGE 2016
Planted almost 30 years ago by the legendary John Platter, Clos du Ciel, which means “Heavenly Vineyard”, has proven to produce a unique but classic Chardonnay. Quoting Christian Eedes: “Winemaker Jasper Raats refers to the wine as ‘African traditional’ – he works biodynamically with a view to being ‘terroir-driven.’ ”.
Rooted in the oldest viticulture soil in the world, it is made up of decomposed granite on the higher slopes of the Helderberg Mountain, a site which has proven to be of Grand Cru quality. This vineyard enjoys the refreshingly cool breezes from False Bay (Atlantic Ocean) during the day and cool night air flowing down the mountain, resulting in even ripening and good, natural acidity. The macro climate is maritime with cold winters and sunny, warm summers.
Harvested from a naturally low yielding single vineyard, 9 different Chardonnay clones were planted almost 30 years ago. With narrow rows and high density planting (approximately 5000 plants per hectare), conventional equipment can’t be used, and therefore everything gets done by hand, including spraying our natural preparations with back packs. With an annual rainfall of approximately 600ml per annum, dry land farming is practiced. Biodynamic (organic) practises are followed and no herbicides or chemical sprays are used in the production of these grapes.
The juice is vinified in a Biodynamic and natural way, fermented with wild vineyard specific yeasts, without the use of enzymes or fining agents. Matured in French oak barrels for 11-12 months, bottled unfiltered and further left to mature for approximately a year prior to release.
Robin von Holdt: The brilliant Chardonnay (and label) both showed perfectly! Its thrilling to know at first whiff, first sip, that this is an exceptional Chardonnay. The palate and finish endorse fully that first view. Cheers!
Clos du Ciel Vineyard, Helderberg, Stellenbosch.
Winemaker – Jasper Raats & Hendrien de Munck
Alc: 12,5% / RS: 1.9g/l / TA: 5.9g/l / pH: 3.44