2014 Pinot Gris, Val du Charron, Wellington, South Africa
The bright lemon hue of the young wine hints at the ripeness of fruit. It has generous aromas and flavours typical of the variety, including pears, white peaches and guavas. The barrel fermentation and maturation have added an intriguing layer of complexity and add layers of creamy finesse to the palate. The wine is fleshy and unctuous with a core of tangy minerality and acidity, which is well complimented by the generous fruit.
In 2006, the Entwistles purchased the 45 Ha farm in the historic Bovlei valley, ten minutes from the town of Wellington, and under an hour’s drive from Cape Town. The farm was initially proclaimed in 1699 and the Entwistles are only the sixth family since then to hold title. They christened the farm Val du Charron as a tribute to the estates rich background – Val du Charron or Valley of the Wagon maker was the original name of the Wellington valley. The French influence stems from the Huguenots who settled in the area in the early 1700’s while the reference to wagon making refers to the fact that Wellington was the last town where the Afrikaner’s ox wagons could be serviced before heading over the majestic Bainskloof in to the then unknown hinterland.
Their arrival initiated a five year rehabilitation of the historical buildings, planting of the vineyards and olive groves and finally the re-establishment of the wine making tradition on the farm. In 2012, Val du Charron itself became an Estate label i.e. all wines under the Val du Charron labels are bottled, produced and come from vines grown on the farm itself; thus giving a pure expression of the terroir to be found on their southerly facing slopes.
Val du Charron is one of the most beautiful farms against the hills in the Bovlei valley. Not only does the sheer beauty blow you away, but also the huge potential of the natural resources ... all the vineyards are on southern facing slopes, rich red soils and a whole bouquet of varietals, 17 to be exact, from Merlot to Touriga Nacional, from thirty year old Chenin blanc to Nouvelle. Why so many different varieties? They strongly believe in blending! With a continental climate, just like some of the great wine producing areas of the world – the Rhône valley, Dao, Rioja and many others, these different varietals have different yet very unique qualities, and if put together produce a composition which is more complex, richer, finer, more finessed and more unique than any variety on its own. In the words of the great Fabrice Langlois, winemaker of Chateau Beaucastel in France:
"A blend is much like a symphony orchestra where you have all the various sections ... the crisp woodwinds, the solid brass instruments, the rhythmic percussion and the elegant strings … on their own they are instruments, but together under the hand of the conductor, a symphony."
Their wines are overseen by winemaker Bertus Fourie, who, aside from winning many winemaking awards, has brought to Val du Charron energy, passion, undoubted skill and ideas.