Stablemate Chardonnay 2023 Excelsior
Bright lime green in colour with an aroma revealing hints of peach, marmalade and orange blossom. On the palate there are green apple fruit flavours and a full creamy palate. This is a Chardonnay for everyday drinking and is only very lightly oaked. (2023 - 13.5% abv)
In the South Western Cape there is a great valley encircled by tall, gaunt mountains. A wide river meanders through the valley floor, which, during the millennia, created a fertile flood plain for itself. It is an arid land, for the mountains which shelter the valley also shield it from rain-bearing clouds. The lack of rain matters not, for the early settlers soon learned to channel the river to irrigate the fertile plain. Here they planted their vineyards, orchards and pastures whose lush herbage makes a stark contrast to the thorny, stunted vegetation of the veld.
With the simplicity of nomads the first people who trekked through the valley gave places names as they beheld the natural phenomena. The mountains which form the northern border they are called the Langeberg, which in Dutch means "Long Mountains", and those to the south they are called the Sonderendberge which are the "Mountains which have no end". The river they named the Breede, which in English, would be the River Broad.
In 1859 a young man with energy and vision came to the valley and bought a large tract of land. He pioneered the channeling of the river to bring water to his fields. He planted crops and established vineyards and orchards and built a cellar which, because it was continually being extended, became known as the Long Cellar. In his old age he divided his land among three sons, the youngest of whom named his portion Excelsior. Stephen and Freddie de Wet who now own Excelsior are the fourth generation of De Wets to farm the land of their ancestor.
Throughout its long history Excelsior Estate has been prominent in many ventures. Before the advent of the motorcar, the best hackney carriage horses were bred at Excelsior. Later these gave way to thoroughbred racehorses, and today Excelsior boasts one of the most distinguished studs in South Africa. In the last fifteen years eight individual Classic winners were bred at Excelsior.
At the turn of the century when women of fashion wore elegant ostrich plumes, Excelsior was at the forefront in the production of these. The large stately homestead with its ornately carved furniture bears evidence to the opulence of this area. The once famous herd of Friesland Cattle were sold when it was decided to concentrate on racehorses. Today large peach, apricot and citrus orchards are cultivated on the Estate, the fruit of which is mostly exported.
Excelsior Estate has over 200 hectares planted to vineyards. Of these Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are the most important varieties. In 1981, a modern winery was constructed with adequate capacity to cater for further expansion. Great care was taken to select the best machinery to facilitate the vinification process.
The vineyards at Excelsior are all irrigated by drip irrigation and much emphasis is placed on applying the correct amount of water. Canopy management also plays an important role in the vineyard management and every effort is made to ensure harvesting is done at optimum ripeness. It is the philosophy at Excelsior that good wine is made in the vineyards and the winemaker can only succeed if he has good basic ingredients with which to work.
Robertson, South Africa