De Wetshof’s Bon Vallon Chardonnay 2018 has been adjudged one of the top 15 wines in this year’s Chardonnay du Monde, the world’s leading competition for wines made from the noble white grape of Burgundy.
Some 696 wines from 36 countries were judged by a panel of international experts at Château des Ravatys, the wine estate of the Pasteur Institute at Saint Lager in the Burgundy wine region of France, with only 54 Gold medals awarded. De Wetshof’s Bon Vallon 2018, an unwooded wine, is one of only two South Africa wines to make the list of Top 15.
This was the 23rd time the Chardonnay du Monde was held.
According to De Wetshof CEO Johann de Wet the Chardonnay du Monde remains one of the most important competitions for Chardonnay, the variety for which De Wetshof is best known and which it pioneered in South Africa during the 1980s.
“It is a tremendous honour. Not only to win a Gold medal, but also to have a wine recognised as one of the best 15 judged,” he says. “But perhaps the most telling aspect of this result is that it went to one of De Wetshof’s unwooded Chardonnays. For a wine which has not been exposed to the complexities of wood to receive this accolade, speaks volumes for De Wetshof’s terroir and Chardonnay focus.”
De Wet says he is especially pleased with the recognition, as this is proving to be an exciting category for South African and international consumers.
“Like all our Chardonnays, the grapes for the Bon Vallon wine originate from vineyards growing on sites specifically suited to the style of wine that is going to be bottled,” he says. “These are vineyards set on broken mountain rock soils rich in Limestone and cooled by southerly maritime breezes
“Many commentators are saying South Africa makes some of the best Chardonnays in the world outside of Burgundy. It’s now time for us to make the best unwooded Chardonnays outside of Chablis.”
What is important in making an unwooded Chardonnay, says De Wet, is that it is not just a matter of keeping the juice and the wine away from oak. “The chemistry of the grapes and the vineyard conditions have to be conducive to producing a Chardonnay that shows its best features in an unwooded environment,” he says. “The Bon Vallon was specially planted for producing this style of wine.”
Bon Vallon is proving to be especially popular with consumers who simply prefer Chardonnays without the wooded element.
“The wine is fresh and accessible, with enough complexity in structure and mouthfeel to ensure a presence on the palate,” he says. ”It’s popular appeal is due to its ability to accompany almost any type of food, as well as to offer wine lovers the great enjoyment of an unwooded Chardonnay.”
De Wet says this award vindicates De Wetshof’s belief in the excellence of South African Chardonnay.
“We are honoured to receive this accolade from the world’s leading Chardonnay competition and hope this shows the world that South Africa is capable of producing white wines, and especially Chardonnay, that can compete with the best in the world.
“The fact that from the 36 countries whose wines were judged South Africa was twice listed among the top 15 Chardonnays, is an accolade to all those who over the past two decades made it their passion to bring South Africa to the fore as a leading producer of quality Chardonnay wines.”