Localization: South Africa
Tasting notes: Heavy clay soils rich in limestone allow this Chardonnay to emit optimum varietal expression in a cloak of rich complexity. An un-wooded wine, Limestone Hill has notes of grapefruit and nuts, with the complexity balanced by a nuanced elegance ending with a delicate ripeness.
Robert Parker describes this wine as such: “The De Wetshof Estate Limestone Hill Chardonnay never sees oak, and offers impeccably pure, refreshing apple, peach and lemon fruit, a lovely leesy richness of texture, and a nutty, chalky, fruit-filled finish of imposing length. Understated and less tropical than some of the better un-oaked Chardonnays, this wine possesses far better balance and sheer drinkability – not to mention more finesse – than 99% of the world’s Chardonnay I have experienced.”
The Domain: The name De Wetshof has been synonymous with the production of fine wines in South Africa since the 1970s. As the first registered wine estate in the Robertson Wine Valley, De Wetshof has become known internationally as South Africa’s eminent Chardonnay House due to the pioneering role it played in introducing this noble Burgundian grape to the country.
The De Wet family’s winemaking heritage can, however, be traced back to 1694 when the first De Wets arrived at the Cape and immediately made a mark on the South African wine industry.
Today, De Wetshof is one of the few third-generation wine estates in South Africa. Here Danie de Wet, proprietor and cellarmaster, is assisted by sons Johann (viticulture and marketing) and Peter (winemaker).
Danie is a pioneer of noble white wines in South Africa and has also introduced superior red cultivars to the Robertson Wine Valley. A graduate of the Geisenheim Institute in Germany, one of the world’s leading centers for the study of viticulture and cellar technology, De Wet’s wines express the uniqueness of the soils of De Wetshof and meticulous attention to detail, while state-of-the-art technology ensures that the work in the cellar complements the gifts of nature’s vineyards.
With its crisp white buildings, rose bushes and jacaranda trees, the Estate has become a well-known landmark in the Robertson wine valley. The cellar façade is based on the renowned and historic First Customs House in Cape Town, while the tasting room/administration offices is a replica of the Koopmans/De Wet House in Strand Street, Cape Town, dating back to 1791. Both buildings were designed by Louis Michel Thibault one of the most renowned architects of early Cape architecture.
Thousands of local and foreign tourists visit the De Wetshof winery each year for a taste of history and a glimpse into the future of South African wine.