Two years after the first grapes from this single block terraced vineyard were harvested, Delaire Graff Estate is delighted to announce the maiden vintage and newest addition to an already esteemed portfolio, the Terraced Block Reserve Chardonnay 2014.
With its steep slopes, the topography of Delaire Graff Estate makes the cultivation of vineyards challenging. Yet it also produces a remarkable terroir with complex variations in soil, temperature and rainfall. It is not unusual for a single vineyard to yield wines that display distinct differences as a result of the varying terroirs, making Delaire Graff Estate a unique vineyard property.
During the redevelopment phase of the Estate vineyards, which commenced in 2009, it was decided a never-before-used north-facing slope of 0.836 hectares was to be planted with Chardonnay grapes. Its steepness necessitated the construction of a series of 28 step-like terraces, upon which were planted 1 990 Chardonnay vines.
The vineyard was christened “The Terraced Block”; it is one of the only terraced Chardonnay blocks in the country. The much anticipated first grapes were harvested in 2012. The subsequent
vintage demonstrates the block’s exciting potential to produce Chardonnay of world-class quality.
Given this prospect, in 2013 the thrilling decision was made to have The Terraced Block awarded Single Vineyard status by the Wine and Spirit Board. The 2014 vintage proved to be an exceptional Chardonnay vintage and the Terraced Block Chardonnay, very early on, lived up to its potential and became a sensational reality.
This exceptional wine is gently crafted with care to capture the complexity and quality of this special site. The wine’s grapes are handpicked and sorted for gentle processing. Whole bunch pressed, the wine is then fermented for 14 days within the barrel and aged for 10 months in new and second fill French oak barrels. No batonnage or malolactic fermentation takes place, so that the wine will retain its vibrant freshness and beautifully balanced characteristics.
“The wine has an expressive bouquet of smoky floral and citrus notes on the nose,” winemaker Morné Vrey says of the new Chardonnay. “I am delighted with the results of our maiden vintage. On the palate, almonds, pears and passion fruit are supported by a crisp acidity and fine spicy minerals. It is a complex, but beautifully balanced wine which complements the existing portfolio in terms of quality, complexity and the exceptional terroir.”
Delaire Graff Estate’s new Chardonnay was honoured with a mention in the Tim Atkin South Africa Report 2015, where the Master of Wine tasted the maiden vintage in its early stages and awarded it 94 points, commenting, “the one hectare vineyard that produced this wine was only five years old in 2014, but it promises to be one of the best Chardonnay sites in Stellenbosch.”