A pioneering Franschhoek wine estate, Haute Cabrière is renowned for its Cap Classique range and wines made from Burgundian grape varieties. Recently announced, the estate has extended its Chardonnay offering with the introduction of the Haute Cabrière Chardonnay Réserve with the maiden 2021 vintage. This is an exciting addition to the Haute Cabrière Range and the winery’s reserve wine collection which already hosts the Pinot Noir Réserve and Arnim Family Réserve (a Pinot Noir and Syrah blend).
According to Takuan von Arnim, now Director of Wine for Haute Cabrière, the Chardonnay Réserve extends Haute Cabrière’s offering of wines grown in the Franschhoek appellation. “As a winery founded in Franschhoek four decades ago, Haute Cabrière is committed to expressing the uniqueness of the Franschhoek terroir and to further they valley’s reputation as one of the South Africa’s leading wine regions in terms of quality and provenance,” says von Arnim. “We have always been captivated by Chardonnay and its ability to viscerally capture the sense of the geographical place where it is grown. Our new Chardonnay Réserve is a particularly welcome addition to the Haute Cabrière Range of wines as its vineyards grow within full view of our mountainside winery.”
ABOUT THE VINES
The grapes for the Haute Cabrière Chardonnay Réserve originate from two sites. The first is a vineyard planted in 1983 and the second is a block established in 2003. The vines are rooted in sandy loam soil which include silt and clay elements providing excellent drainage and a firm nutrient-bed for the vines’ roots.
Tim Hoek, now Haute Cabrière’s Cellarmaster, says that besides adding to the winery’s offering of top-quality Chardonnay, Haute Cabrière’s new Chardonnay Réserve underscores the quality of Franschhoek grapes.
“Our region barely constitutes one percent of South Africa’s national vineyards, but the collective aim of Franschhoek’s wine cellars is to ensure that each glass of wine from the valley is of premium quality reflecting the region’s exceptional aspects,” says Hoek. “One of these characteristics is diversity – no two Franschhoek vineyards are alike. As Haute Cabrière’s maiden Chardonnay Réserve shows, each vineyard parcel in the region has distinct elements showing a unique fingerprint of excellence.”
IN THE CELLAR
Following harvest from these specially selected sites, grapes were sorted, pressed, and fermentation was completed with a “sauvage” yeast, a natural yeast that that has been isolated. With freshness and complexity regarded as characters best for expressing terroir through Chardonnay, Hoek says the wine is a result of two vastly different maturation components. “For depth of flavour and complexity, Chardonnay requires time in barrel,” he says. “A combination of 2nd, 3rd and 4th fill French oak barrels was used for aging 60% of the Chardonnay for 11 months. The use of wood allows the wine to form structure and palate weight, elements required to magnify the delicate fruit, floral and nutty characters for which the variety is known.”
The unwooded 40% element was kept in stainless steel tanks on its lees, for the same 11 months, before being blended with the barrel-aged component. “The unwooded element brings added energy and brightness to the wine, creating a Chardonnay that we see as a precise reflection of terroir offering the myriad of elements and features which mark Chardonnay as a great wine grape,” says Hoek. “The Haute Cabrière Chardonnay Réserve shows zesty citrus notes complemented by an austere minerality with persistence on the palate, depth and a lasting finish.”
The wine is absolutely ready for drinking now, but true to the character of fine Chardonnay, it will gain added complexity and bring further flavour elements to the fore if aged over the next five to 10 years.
The wine is now available from Haute Cabrière’s cellar door, online store and select retails national wide.