De Grendel Op die Berg Chardonnay makes it a double at Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show

De Grendel Op die Berg Chardonnay 2020 has brought home two best-in-show trophies and a place in the Top 10 Producers for De Grendel in the 2021 Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show.

A unique wine from the cold continental climate of the Ceres Plateau, De Grendel Op die Berg Chardonnay 2020 was awarded the Miele Trophy for Best Chardonnay and the Old Mutual Trophy for Best White Wine Overall in the widely respected awards chaired by leading wine authority Michael Fridjhon.

The wine was also one of only 8 wines amongst the 32 gold medal winners to earn the judges’ highest score of 97 in this year’s show.

With four bronze medals – for Amandelboord Pinotage 2019, Koetshuis Sauvignon Blanc 2020, Merlot 2019, and Sauvignon Blanc 2021 – De Grendel also claimed a place in the Top 10 most successful producers on the show.

De Grendel cellar master Charles Hopkins said he was delighted with the recognition for a wine from the new appellation of Ceres Plateau, where De Grendel has pioneered winegrowing in South Africa’s only truly continental wine region.

The inland vineyards in the Witzenberg mountains – hence the name Op die Berg, “on the mountain” – are 960m above sea level where, without a moderating coastal influence, the days are hot and the nights extremely cold, with winter temperatures frequently dropping below freezing, lending cool freshness, purity, and intensity to the fruit. This cold mountainous climate makes for slow ripening of grapes, producing wines of a distinctive character and style.

“The high altitude and extremely cold winters, with the vineyards often covered in snow in winter, make a unique winegrowing climate for South Africa, ideally suited to Chardonnay. We are delighted that the judges agree with our view that Op die Berg Chardonnay is an outstanding wine and a unique example in the South African chardonnay spectrum.

“What started as an experiment, with De Grendel being one of the first to produce wine from the Ceres Plateau, has proved its worth in the multiple accolades for our Op die Berg wines and their great popularity with our customers,” Hopkins said.

De Grendel Op die Berg Chardonnay 2020 is barrel aged in French oak “sur lie” for five months whilst undergoing batonnage (regular stirring of the lees) and malolactic fermentation, enhancing the wine’s textured, rich mouthfeel and structure.

A clean, bright pale yellow, the wine is subtle and elegant, freshly fragrant, with crisp Granny Smith apple and ripe citrus aromas of Ruby grapefruit permeated with soft layers of crème caramel and sweet orange marmalade. The flavours are lively, and the finish refined and rich with a long tail due to the oak and extended lees contact.

Fresh and eminently drinkable on release, it will mature into greater fullness and richness with cellaring for four to five years.

The wine is available from the De Grendel Vinotheque at R300.