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11 Great South African Chardonnays

11 Great South African Chardonnays

Chardonnay is a classic French grape originally from Burgundy. Today it is grown all over the planet and has a band of devotees who follow it avidly. In years gone by the Californians made very buttery examples with heavy wood influences. Eventually, this trend diminished and today’s wine drinkers are looking for simpler and more approachable Chardonnay, with many unwooded examples making friends daily.

It can also be a component in classic bubbly and can be used to great advantage in white blends, adding plenty of character.

One cannot expect the wine made from grapes grown in areas as diverse as Orange River and Calitzdorp, Stellenbosch and Mc Gregor to taste the same. They will not. It is like sisters from the same family—they are all sisters but each has her own personality—as a Lebanese friend of mine used to say.

These are some of my favourites:

Chardonnay, ashton wineryASHTON LIMITED RELEASE 2018

Barrel fermented and aged in new French oak for 4 months, rich and creamy, great with creamy pasta dishes. A bargain at R85

CAPE OF GOOD HOPE SERURRIA 2017
From Elandskloof near Villiersdorp, marvellous quality with a fragrant nose of citrus blossoms
and some vanilla from the well-controlled wood component. Superb. R205

CAVALLI THE FOAL CHRISTINA 2019
Typical chardonnay characteristic of buttery citrus note from the Robertson Valley –beguiling, multi-award-winning. R135

 

De Krans, ChardonnayDE KRANS WILD FERMENT 2018
Wild ferment means that no yeast is added—the wine starts fermentation naturally. 6 months on the fine lees adds character and taste—delicious, clean and crisp. R79

DE WETSHOF BATELEUR 2017

Named after a magnificent bird of prey, the Bateleur eagle, this champion wine is one of the finest you will find anywhere let alone in SA. The marriage of superb fruit and very careful oaking brought to their logical conclusion—magnificent. R450

DE WETSHOF LIMESTONE HILL 2019

Uncomplicated and pure in its simplicity, one can almost see the beautiful Robertson Valley—one can certainly taste it in every sip—gorgeous—unwooded. R90

Elgin Ridge, ChardonnayELGIN RIDGE 282 2018

Certified Biodynamic with plenty of ripe fruit from vineyards 282 meters above sea level in the verdant Elgin Valley—superior and delicious R250

GRANDE PROVENCE 2018

This is the wine that won Thys Smit a nomination for the Best Young Winemaker of the Year. From Franschhoek. Lightly wooded, elegant without being precious, just the thing to knock down poolside, great with food like fish, roast chicken. R170

 

 

McGregor, ChardonnayMC GREGOR 2019

A Robertson Valley treasure from one of the quaintest villages you will find anywhere—opulent fruit with hints of butterscotch –aptly—unwooded. R55

NEWTON JOHNSON FAMILY RESERVE 2018

Matured in Burgundian oak barrels for 11months gives plenty of character without softening the edges of this really superior wine. Chewy and crunchy almost red wine-like characteristics make for a fascinating unforgettable wine. R305

TOKARA 2018
Gloriously sure of itself, with brioche and almond notes –so French—some oak very well controlled to support all that great fruit. R110

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