Wade Metzer is a real talent who not only makes some of South Africa’s best Chenin, but also outstanding reds from vineyards in the Helderberg mountain on the south-eastern eastern edge of Stellenbosch.
Metzer Family Wines was born in 2006 after Wade had spent some time being mentored by Eben Sadie, who is the perhaps the most influential South African winemaker of the last 20 years. Wade sought out parcels of old vines tucked away from some of the flashier more touristic wineries and is currently working with 6 old vineyards under contract. The maritime breezes which come up from False Bay, and the altitude from the Helderberg itself give the wines from here freshness and balance alongside ripeness. His simple aim is to nurture this wonderful old-vine fruit from vine to bottle with minimal input along the way, allowing the essential characteristics of the fruit and vineyard to shine through.
In the Metzer cellar a great emphasis is placed on the minimum handling of fruit, and no mechanical interventions with pumps, filters and reverse osmosis machines never used in the process. Fermentation by indigenous yeasts, alive on the grapes and resident in the cellar, leads to long, stable extraction times. Wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered to preserve the "life-forces" from vineyard to bottle. A traditional basket-press is used for gentle extraction of the reds.
The Maritime Chenin is single-vineyard wine from a bush vine parcel planted in 1980. The vineyard is situated a mere 4 km from the shores of False Bay. The grapes were handpicked in the early morning hours to preserve fruit integrity. The fruit was then gently pressed after a brief period of skin contact. The juice was settled overnight without the use of settling enzymes and from here it was fed directly to French oak barrels (all seasoned oak) where fermentation occured spontaneously. The wine was aged on its lees in barrel for 9 months, with no batonnage then bottled after a coarse filtration.
The vineyard’s pure fruit quality radiates pear, white peach and lemon. Bright stone fruit follows through on the palate which is marked by a rich texture and a soft, coated acidity. The wine has a persistent, mineral finish showing subtle hints of white spice, nuts and orange blossom.