Kleine Zalze extends premium Family Reserve range with maiden Chardonnay 2023

Thursday, 29 February, 2024
Kleine Zalze
The Family Reserve wine range from Kleine Zalze Wines has been bolstered with the addition of a Chardonnay to join their top-tier offering.

Made from two parcels of Stellenbosch fruit, Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Chardonnay 2023 was fermented and aged in a 50-50 combination of 400l French oak barrels and 500l Italian terracotta amphorae.

According to RJ Botha, Kleine Zalze cellarmaster, the Chardonnay is a welcome addition to the winery’s Family Reserve range, which also comprises Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc.

“South Africa has over the past decade become an international force in Chardonnay, with the country’s wines made from this Burgundian variety being mentioned as being among the best offerings in the world,” he says. “Incorporating Chardonnay in our top Family Reserve tier adds to the status of Kleine Zalze’s overall wine portfolio, as I believe this wine to be a terrific example of the world-class Chardonnays South Africa, and specifically Stellenbosch, has to offer.”

Klein Zalze Family Reserve Chardonnay 2023 is made from two parcels of fruit sourced from vineyards within Stellenbosch, encapsulating the diversity of terroir within the Cape’s most renowned appellation. One portion originates from Banghoek, while the other is grown in the region of Sir Lowry’s Pass in Somerset-West.

The different blocks used to create this wine were hand harvested separately at ripeness levels of between 21° and 23°balling. One portion was destemmed and crushed, the resulting juice given 12 -18 hours skin-contact prior to settling. The other segment was whole-bunch pressed in order to retain optimal freshness and lend refinement and elegance to the resulting wine. 

After being allowed one day’s settling, the slightly turbid juice was racked off its gross lees to a stainless-steel tank where it was inoculated with selected slow fermenting yeast strains. The juice was then immediately gravity-fed into new 400L French oak barrels and 500L Italian terracotta where it spent eight months on the lees. The Chardonnay was bottled without fining filtration.

Botha says the Family Reserve Chardonnay follows Kleine Zalze’s ethos of selecting grapes from a combination of Stellenbosch sites allowing for a broader expression of varietal nuance.

“No, in making our Family Reserve Chardonnay we do not follow the Burgundian obsession with single-site expression, as we believe that an imaginative approach of combining fruit from various terroirs allows us to create the quality of wines fit for bottling under Kleine Zalze Family Reserve,” he says. “The diverse geographical landscape where Stellenbosch’s vineyards are planted gives Klein Zalze an opportunity to craft its wines by harnessing regional diversity into a premium singular style.”

This dynamic approach is furthered by combining French oak and terracotta amphorae for the fermentation and aging. 

“This gives us the chance to expose the wine to the best of two worlds: French oak barrels that allow broad and evocative expressions of primary fruit, and amphorae for vibrancy and freshness and – for me the most important aspect – texture. Premium Chardonnay fruit thrives in an innovative environment, unleashing multi-layered dimensions that allow for the blue-blood pedigree of the world’s most famous white wine to come to the fore. And this we believe Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Chardonnay presents as an exciting addition to the renowned category Cape Chardonnay has become.”

Kleine Zalze’s other Chardonnays are found in the Vineyard and Cellar Selection tiers.