Flagship wine hails from a single vineyard of extraordinary terroir
Delheim has released the 2020 vintage of its Chardonnay Sur Lie whose arrival is always keenly awaited. The popularity of the flagship wine stems from its provenance, a single vineyard high against the Simonsberg Mountain that overlooks Stellenbosch and is the renowned estate’s most consistently excellent block of Chardonnay.
Over the decades this specific site has delivered award-winning chardonnays. The 2007 vintage from this same vineyard block before it was replanted won the trophy for Best Chardonnay in the World.
"The vineyard is one we always watch intensely over the development of its fruit in the run-up to harvest, so we’re just as eager to see the result once the wine emerges from its slumber,” says Delheim winemaker Roelof Lotriet. “This year again, this very special vineyard just radiates from the glass.”
In making the wine, Delheim takes a classic approach. The Chardonnay Sur Lie is held back in favour of additional bottle maturation and further development of its flavours and aromas.
The release of the Chardonnay Sur Lie 2020 comes at a time the world celebrates International Chardonnay Day on May 27. “It just worked out this way, but this is a wine that would certainly be fitting to drink on the day,” says Roelof.
Beyond that, the wine’s solid body and character give it just the stature to serve with fine food, winter or summer.
The vineyard that realised the wine is just three hectares in size. It was planted in 2014 and given the nickname Protea - a reflection of Delheim’s focus on sustainable and environmentally-friendly farm practice. The fruit is hand-picked, whole bunch pressed and fermented in French oak barrels.
Its name – Sur Lie – refers to the nine months the wine spent on the lees before blending and bottling.
"The fruit the block delivers is evidence that if you plant the right cultivar at the right site in the right soil you can make wines that are layered and complex, and still elegant,” says Roelof.
“This vintage again is an ambassador for the terroir we have at Delheim. And we’ve elevated that expression in the wine through subtle use of new wood.”
In the glass, the vibrantly golden wine shows citrus, stone fruit, and subtle notes of spice on the nose. The palate is well balanced with medium-bodied structure. Creamy notes from the oak meld with elegant fruit and linger in fresh and memorable crispness.
“It's wonderful wine to pair with a winter casserole and some fine cheese," he says.
It will also continue to improve in the bottle to within five years from vintage.
The retail price of the Delheim Chardonnay Sur Lie 2020 is R250/bottle. It is available at leading wine stores and selected restaurants, as well as Delheim’s online shop.
Delheim Estate is in the Simonsberg sub-region of the Stellenbosch Wine Routes, on the Knorhoek Road, off the R44.