Delheim’s new releases confirm philosophy of ageing to perfection


LOOKING to repair the lockdown-size hole in your wine collection? Delheim has the solution – fix it with a selection of the celebrated Stellenbosch estate’s classic and age-able wines.

The winery that itself is an octogenarian under current ownership, has amassed a solid understanding over decades of wines capable of ageing to perfection. Outstanding feedback from customers who were nudged by lockdown restrictions to open older Delheim vintages motivated the farm to share the good news far and wide.

“Not all wines are meant to improve with age and most are produced to be market-ready once they’re bottled,” says winemaker Roelof Lotriet. “Delheim’s Old World heritage defines our more classic approach and the reason behind our balanced portfolio of well-made easy-drinking wines and those that will only get better with age.”

With the latest release of new vintages, Delheim again highlights the value in crafting time-honoured wines.

Collectors may consider starting with this Delheim trio: a red, white and dessert wine – each a Stellenbosch icon in its own right. Two of the wines – the Vera Cruz Pinotage 2017 and the Edelspatz 2019 – have just scored 95/100 in UK-based Master of Wine Tim Atkin’s 2020 South Africa Special Report. The latter wine was also among the Top 10 selected in the most recent Prescient Dessert Wine Report by The trio is completed with the no less impressive and supremely maturable Chardonnay Sur Lie 2019.

Vera Cruz Pinotage 2017 (pre-release)

This is the latest vintage of the wine and only available now as a pre-order. The Vera Cruz is only made in years where outstanding quality is achieved. It is a single vineyard expression intended to represent the best that Delheim can deliver. The grapes for the wine are meticulously selected form a portion of Delheim’s Vera Cruz vineyard.

“Deep crimson colour, ripe dark fruit and floral aromas with hints of spice and mocha,” notes Lotriet about the 2017, adding: “Full bodied with an opulent tannin structure, juicy palate that will reward with ageing.

“Careful cellaring will allow this wine to age gracefully for at least another 10 years.”

The Vera Cruz Pinotage 2016 vintage, which also previously scored 95 points by Tim Atkin, was recently announced as a finalist in the ABSA Top 10 Pinotage competition, whose results are revealed at the end of this month.

Edelspatz 2019 (pictured at top of page)

The Edelspatz is one of South Africa’s most beloved wines, establishing its reputation over many years. As of next year, the wine will join the Old Vine Project (OVP), the South African initiative certifying wines made from vines older than 35 years. The block of Weisser Riesling used for its making was planted in 1985 and delivers one of the most exceptional noble late harvest wines in the country. It will also be the first Riesling vineyard to be registered with the OVP.

Here too, the wine is only made when conditions allow. For the 2019 vintage, the grapes were carefully selected before being whole-bunch pressed and fermented in French oak barrels for nine months. “Being one of the best noble rot vintages in over a decade, the wine shows classic botrytis characteristics on the nose and is complemented by honey suckle, dried peaches and marmalade,” says Lotriet. “The wine displays perfect balance between sugar and acid, and is layered with bright fruit and orange blossom.

“Enjoy now or cellar for up to 30 years.”

Chardonnay Sur Lie 2019

The Chardonnay Sur Lie is held back in favour of additional bottle maturation before becoming available. The 2019 is the latest vintage of this wine, and is eminently suitable for further aging for another five years. Again, the fruit was hand-picked and whole-bunch pressed. The juice was fermented in French oak barrels – a combination of 500 and 225-litres with 15% new wood. The wine was left on its lees for nine months, the technique from which it derives its name, before blending and bottling.

In glass, it delivers aromas of crisp apples, citrus, stone fruit and quince with subtle nuances of oak. These follow through onto the structured palate. “Elegant and well-balanced, with a mineral touch on the finish,” says Lotriet.

The Chardonnay Sur Lie 2019 is great by itself or alternatively with yellowtail fish on the grill or a creamy Dijon-Tarragon chicken dish.

The wines are available from leading retailers and restaurants as well as Delheim’s online shop. Be sure to replenish your special wines and browse the Collector’s Corner of rare vintages. And why not show your style with an “Ageing to Perfection” T-shirt, also available through the online store.

Delivery is free with orders above R1 200. The approximate retail price for the Chardonnay Sur Lie 2019 is R195; Vera Cruz Pinotage 2017, R470; and, the 375ml Edelspatz 2019, R310.

For more information, click here or contact Delheim on [email protected] 021 888 4600. Also find Delheim on Facebook, Twitter @Delheim and Instagram @delheimwines.

Delheim Estate is in the Simonsberg sub-region of the Stellenbosch Wine Routes, on the Knorhoek Road, off the R44.

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