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CELLARMASTER EUGENE VAN ZYL ON WHAT WE CAN EXPECT FROM THE 2014 LEOPARD’S LEAP CHARDONNAY

CELLARMASTER EUGENE VAN ZYL ON WHAT WE CAN EXPECT FROM THE 2014 LEOPARD’S LEAP CHARDONNAY

Harvest is well underway and Cellarmaster Eugene van Zyl visited the beautiful vineyards of Robertson to have a look at the Chardonnay we harvested for the Leopard’s Leap Classic Collection. He answered a few questions on what we can expect from the 2014 Chardonnay harvest.

Cellarmaster Eugene van Zyl with the Chardonnay grapes destined for the Leopard's Leap Classic Collection.

Cellarmaster Eugene van Zyl with the Chardonnay grapes destined for the Leopard’s Leap Classic Collection.

Why are we getting our Chardonnay grapes from Robertson?

“Rumour in Robertson has it that great Chardonnays and top racehorses have one thing in common – soils rich in limestone. It helps horses to have strong bone structures and it provides Chardonnay with an excellent structure to promote good maturation”.

Eugene shows the lime soil in which Chardonnay loves to grow.

Eugene shows the lime soil in which the Chardonnay grows.

We all know that the quality of a vintage begins in the preceding growing season. What can you tell us about that?

“December 2013 was relatively cool compared to normal December temperatures, resulting in slow ripening and more intense flavour concentration. Early January saw a couple of rain showers, but with Chardonnay being more rot-resistant than many other varieties, we had no problems.”

So what is happening at the moment?

“Currently the wines are in the final stages of fermentation. The grapes were harvested at the end of February, between 21 and 23 degrees Balling.  I am already tasting the wines in the tanks and I have started to identify various tanks and combinations that might work for the first bottling of the 2014 vintage – more or less at the end of May.

And your expectations of the quality of the 2014 Chardonnay?

“I am very excited. In general, berries were smaller than usual and together with the moderate temperatures and slow ripening, the conditions were ideal for optimum flavour concentration. I have great expectations of this vintage as the analysis indicate a low pH and good acidity – all signs of an elegant wine with excellent maturation potential.”

This year, the Chardonnay berries are smaller with more flavour concentration.

This year, the Chardonnay berries are smaller with more flavour concentration.

And while we wait for the 2014, why not enjoy the 2013 Leopard’s Leap Chardonnay! Wonderful as a refreshing glass on its own, it is also a very versatile partner to food. Try it with a slice of lemon meringue pie for a different, but delicious combination!

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