Tasting and Assessing the Bold Second Chardonnay Release from Capensis Wines…

The Capensis Chardonnay is made at a new South African winery owned by Barbara Banke of Jackson Family Wines in USA and South African Anthony Beck, and is produced from vineyards expertly sourced by renowned viticulturalist Rosa Kruger. The wine is produced by Graham Weerts, from vineyards located in Stellenbosch, the Overberg, and the Robertson region.

The maiden vintage 2013 was reviewed several times on this blog…


So I was intrigued to taste a pre-European release sample of the follow-up 2014. But then of course I realised I had already tasted the 2014 in November 2016 as part of the extensive Decanter Magazine’s blind Chardonnay tasting review. Reading my November review and noting the three judges scores, one can really see how this wine has evolved and improved with extra time in bottle over the past 5 months. 

Vineyards Used in Capensis…

The Stellenbosch estate of Fijnbosch sits at 1,719 feet in elevation on clay soils with fynbos surrounding the vines, contributing to the Chardonnay’s exceptional natural acidity and complexity.

The Kaaimansgat vineyards in the Overberg, lie at an elevation of 2,484 feet. Impressively remote and resting up in the mountains of the Overberg, the Kaaimansgat vineyard literally translates to “crocodile’s lair” and has long been used in world class examples of Chardonnay from producers like Bouchard Finlayson and more latterly, Leeu Passant.

The final components are sourced from the E. Bruwer vineyard in Robertson, which lies at an elevation of 571 feet in a limestone rich terroir long renowned for producing top Chardonnay grapes.

Capensis Chardonnay 2014, W.O. Western Cape, 14.5 Abv. 

This Chardonnay has an alluring lime green tinged lemon yellow glow. Still very youthful, there are initially intensely bold notes of vanilla bean, creme brûlée, and pannacotta cream. In 2014, 50% of the Cuvee was fermented in small French oak barrels (compared to 100% in 2013), with the balance fermented in stainless steel, and the wine is better for it. All the components were aged on their lees, being hand-stirred monthly for 10 months. Once in the glass, more complex aromas of lemon zest, yellow grapefruit and bergamot develop with subtle truffle oil and shiitaki mushroom notes. On the palate, there is certainly creamy breadth from the partial Malo (30 to 50%) which is beautifully balanced by crisp, pithy, crunchy green fruit acids. The fairground toffee apple nuances are still pronounced but should recede into the background as the wine ages, with the saline yellow citrus, lime cordial and dusty minerality becoming more pronounced. Stylistically a very bold, opulent wine that will appeal more to new world Chardonnay connoisseurs than perhaps Burgundy lovers. But I think that’s kind of the point? Nevertheless, in its youth, this wine is classy, seductive and very well made and should impress the fussiest of global Chardonnay drinkers. 

(Wine Safari Score: 93+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

2 thoughts on “Tasting and Assessing the Bold Second Chardonnay Release from Capensis Wines…

  1. Funnily enough, Winemag.co.za. scored it 90 when tasted in October last year. I struggle to get a fix on it, sometimes liking it very much then being underwhelmed. Obviously not a “terroir” wine and in which case can we talk about “minerality”? Hee, hee…


    1. Provided the 2014 does not show the bottle variation of the 2013, I’m certain it will become more pithy and slightly more “mineral” in a year or two… even if only actually because of the acids becoming finer and more transparent under the oak. But tasted blind now, I’d definitely score it higher than 90… suggesting the wine is improving in bottle.


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