Whether it’s in their acclaimed Méthode Cap Classique (MCC) sparkling wines, or the iconic blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, the von Arnim family of Franschhoek winery Haute Cabrière has long been passionate about the noble cultivars of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
In the 35 years since founder Achim von Arnim planted his first vines on Farm Cabrière in the heart of the Franschhoek Valley, the cellar has never released a stand-alone Chardonnay – until now.
Two years after taking over production at Haute Cabrière, cellar master Takuan von Arnim has taken the pioneering decision to release the winery’s maiden Chardonnay Réserve from the 2016 vintage.
“Haute Cabrière has always been a cellar focused on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. They’re the varietals my father has always loved, and the launch of our Chardonnay Réserve is perfect in showing respect for who has worked so hard for so many years,” says Takuan.
The new release is an impressive addition to the cellar’s sought-after Réserve Range, joining the respected Pinot Noir Réserve and award-winning Blanc de Blancs MCC as the purest expression of Haute Cabrière’s unique terroir and winemaking philosophy.
Adding a new wine to Haute Cabrière’s focused portfolio was a natural progression for cellar master, Takuan von Arnim. Cabriere is certainly no stranger to producing superb barrel-aged Chardonnay which forms an integral part of the winery’s acclaimed Blanc de Blancs Méthode Cap Classique – a 4½-star recipient of the 2017 Platter’s South African Wine Guide.
“You can’t rush into these things. Fortunately our experience with the cultivar and excellent working relationship with the coopers led us to believe we could do it properly,” says von Arnim.
All the fruit for the Chardonnay Réserve 2016 was sourced from Haute Cabrière’s own vineyards, and harvested by hand. After whole-berry pressing, the wine was fermented in oak – 60 percent new, 40 percent second-fill – and allowed to rest on the lees until 30 percent malolactic fermentation was complete. The wine was then ‘rough racked’ into stainless steel tanks before being returned to barrel for a further eight months.
The result is certainly impressive: a Chardonnay in the classic Burgundian tradition. Defined by elegance and vitality, the oak supports, not dominates, the primary fruit characters. Expect a nose of vibrant citrus, melon and white pear, backed by a generous mid-palate underpinned by elegant oak tannins.
“It’s more European than New World in style,” adds von Arnim, who says the well-judged use of oak was key to ensuring a wine retaining plenty of freshness. A Chardonnay you can enjoy with oysters!”
While Takuan is thrilled that years of careful planning have come to fruition in the bottle, what does the founder of Haute Cabrière, Achim von Arnim, make of the cellar’s maiden Chardonnay Réserve?
“He’s extremely proud that we have added our signature to the Haute Cabrière Wine portfolio,” smiles Takuan.
Only 1000 bottles of the Chardonnay Réserve have been produced in the maiden 2016 vintage. The wine will be available from the cellar door and restaurant at R190 per bottle from the end of September 2017.
Haute Cabrière’s Restaurant and Tasting Room are situated on Franschhoek Pass (Lambrechts Road), Franschhoek. Tasting Room Hours are: Mon – Fri: 09:00 to 17:00 – Saturdays and Public Holidays: 10:00 to 17:00 – Sunday: 11:00 to 16:00 Contact details for reservations and enquiries: Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 021 876 8500.