2017 Silene Chardonnay
Western Cape, South Africa
The winemaking team gently guides the wine through fermentation and barrel aging. All grapes were hand packed at optimal ripeness and brought to the cellar where they are whole-bunch pressed using a slow and gentle pressing cycle. After the juice settles for 24-48 hours, it is inoculated with selected yeast strains and fermented in small French oak barrels. For each vintage, approximately 50 percent of the blend is fermented in new French oak, with the balance in neutral French oak.
All the wine is aged on the lees and is hand-stirred monthly throughout 10 months of aging to soften the texture. Winemaker Graham Weerts is a fervent believer that lees incorporation is a key component to creating Chardonnay with integrity and with ability to age.
The percentage of Capensis Chardonnay that complete malolactic fermentation depends on the vintage and the vineyard characteristics, with the average being 30 to 50 percent for the finished wine. Partial malolactic fermentation adds complexity and rounds some acids. However, these vineyards have such ripe acidity – without tart, green apple character – that the wines are naturally balanced regardless of the level. Gentle fining is used for most lots.