Boschendal’s Single Varietals from Cool, High Altitude Elgin Vineyards

The Boschendal Manor House

The Boschendal Manor House

We’re big fans of the elegant sparkling and white wines that Lizelle Gerber makes at Boschendal. We’ve visited Boschendal several times over the years but first met Lizelle in 2012 while doing field work for our Report #30 The Wines of South Africa. Last month we once again visited Lizelle at Boschendal and tasted some of her new releases, including a very good Pinot Noir that she has begun making from Elgin fruit. We also retasted the superb Boschendal 2007 Prestige Cuvée Jean Le Long Blanc de Blancs that so impressed us in 2012.

Located in Franschhoek in the lower foothills of the Groot-Drakenstein and Simonsberg Mountains, Boschendal is one of South Africa’s most beautiful, historic wine estates. Winemaking dates back to 1685 when the French Huegenot Jean le Long planted his first vines. The Cape Dutch styled Manor House dates from 1812, and now serves as a museum of one of the few original Cape farmhouses. Boschendal is also home to one of the finest restaurants in the winelands, the Werf restaurant, where we held our tasting.

Winemaker Lizelle Gerber

Winemaker Lizelle Gerber

Lizelle Gerber has been the lead winemaker for white and sparkling wines at Boschendal. A graduate of Eisenburg Agricultural College, Lizelle worked a harvest in the Alsace and made wine at Avontuur, Zevenwacht and Eikendal before joining Boschendal in 2006.

We tasted the Appellation Series of single varietal wines from cool climate vineyards in Elgin. These wines are all barrel selections made from hand picked grapes carefully vinified to be balanced and fresh. Our tasting notes follow. Not reviewed here are wines we tasted from Boschendal’s Sommelier Selection—Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, and Pinotage. These are value wines made to be food friendly and mostly sold by the glass in dining establishments. The wines in the Sommelier Selection are all competently made, easy drinking, and priced to give excellent value.

US Importer: Pacific Highway Wines & Spirits

IMG_5957Boschendal 2015 Elgin Sauvignon Blanc Appellation Series Elgin 90  Made from Elgin’s highest vineyard sites 700m above sea level, the Sauvignon Blanc reveals ripe citrus with hints of grapefruit and capsicum. It shows lovely balance with ripe fruit and good acidity. The grapes were hand harvested, with the morning and afternoon sides of the vines picked separately and then sorted both in the vineyard and at the winery, stainless steel fermented at 16°C with lees stirring contributing to the wine’s almost creamy mouthfeel.

Boschendal 2014 Elgin Chardonnay Appellation Series Elgin 91  Also sourced from high altitude, dry farmed vineyards in Elgin, this barrel selection of Elgin Chardonnay is especially elegant, showing beautiful integration of fruit and French oak (20% new). Fresh yellow fruit and honeysuckle aromas are mirrored on a creamy, balanced palate. Whole bunch pressed with fermentation started in stainless steel and completed in barriques, where the wine matures on the lees for 11 months.

Boschendal 2014 Elgin Pinot Noir Appellation Series Elgin 90 A barrel selection of Pinot Noir from Elgin vineyards, this is an attractive, medium weight wine revealing fresh and dried cherry with notes of plum, vanilla, and dried thyme. It’s clean, fresh and full on the palate, a faithful example of New World Pinot Noir. Cold soaked for 48 hours and made using open top fermenters and matured in 500L mostly older barrels, about 20% new. The fruit is hand picked with yields of 4-6 tons/ha.

Boschendal 2007 Prestige Cuvée Jean Le Long Blanc de Blancs Western Cape 92  This 100% Chardonnay is an exceptionally good blanc de blancs revealing notes of brioche, honeyed apple and lemon curd. The palate is creamy, dense, complex, and richly flavored with a hint of toast on the finish. Just 1.3 g RS. It has gained in complexity since we first tasted this sparkler in 2012.

February 2016

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