Gabriëlskloof is a beautiful wine estate located near Bot River in the Overberg region east of Cape Town. It was purchased in 2001 by Bernhard Heyns, who had been on the lookout for the ideal place to plant vines. After planting, his first vintage was in 2009. We felt compelled to add Gabriëlskloof to our list because Peter-Allan Finlayson, Bernhard’s son in law, took over as winemaker from the 2015 vintage. The farm has 300 hectares, with 68 hectares planted to vines. The climate is cool with maritime influences coming from Walker Bay. The vineyards are farmed sustainably with the aim to move to organic farming in the future.
The two vineryards used to make this wine are situated in the Paardeberg region of the Swartland. Both are estimated to be over 35 years old. They are dryland bush vine vineyards and have never been irrigated. These vineyards are very labour intensive to farm and, as a result of the arid conditions, yield little fruit (between one and three tonnes per hecatre). South Africa is the only New World country that has significant plantings of old-vine Chenin Blanc and Elodie is an expression of what can be made from this national treasure.
2015 was an excellent vintage. A very cold and wet winter was followed by a moderate and dry summer. This permitted advanced flavour development at low sugar levels. The harvest took place during the month of February.
The grapes were whole bunch pressed with no additions. After an overnight rough settling in tank, the juice was transfered to 400 and 500 litre old French oak barrels, where it fermented wild and remained until blending before bottling.
ABV 13.5%; Residual Sugar 1.8g/L; Acidity 5.2g/L; Wine pH 3.5
Light and pale in colour with a golden straw hue. On the nose, subtle aromas of citrus pith and white floral notes settle into layers of almond, dried pineapple and lanolin. The palate is restrained with a viscous, waxy mouthfeel and great natural acidity and freshness typical of old vine Chenin.