Chardonnay 2022, Tesselaarsdal, South Africa
While Berene Sauls started with Pinot Noir under her Tesselaarsdal label, it wasn't long before she set her sights on Chardonnay - with an aim of producing a chiselled, cool climate expression of the grape. From unirrigated vineyards on the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge, this Chadonnay has crisp acidity and lean minerality, with a silky, gently rounded texture. Less really is more here. Very elegant.
Berene Sauls, who has worked for many years at Hamilton Russel (starting as an au pair and now in operations) and this is her side hustle. What a hustle.
Berene named her label after the historic Overberg farming hamlet of Tesselaarsdal, where she was born, a descendant of the freed slaves who were bequeathed the land of the Tesselaarsdal valley by former Dutch East India Company soldier Johannes Tesselaar’s widow in 1832. If you look closely at the label, you can make out two people walking across the mountain. This is Berene and her grandmother.