Always Buy Chardonnay

Monday, 26 November, 2012
Shante Hutton,
It has been said that as a wine drinker, you either love or hate Chardonnay.
Defined by its buttery, woody palate, many have leaned more to the perhaps fresher tastes of a Sauvignon or Chenin. It’s a pity though because if they only knew the wonders of chardonnay, they would realize what a fabulous food pairing wine it is and how it’s an absolute darling to grow in South Africa. We make it exceptionally well with De Wetshof Estate being a champion of this illustrious grape variety. Indeed, recently they were awarded Five Stars in the 2012 Platter Wine Guide for their 2009 The Site chardonnay. Who better then to continuously host the bi-annual Chardonnay event, in celebration of International Chardonnay Day.

It took place on the 9th November with perfect weather that shone on the beautiful De Wetshof Estate. The hosts, Danie and Lesca de Wet, proved yet again that they were masters of executing a celebration of epic proportions.

The day began with a tasting led by the legendary Dave Hughes and consisted of 11 South African chardonnays and 4 international wines. The wine makers of each delicious offering spoke passionately about their chardonnays and their varied styles. But it was not just a time to indulge but to also garner how well and how far chardonnay was moving. Special contributor Miguel Chan, Tsogo Sun’s Sommelier, pointed out that globally he is seeing a trend with consumers desiring unwooded varieties with a move away from the big, bold Chardonnays that South Africa produces so well. Phil Freese, an internationally acclaimed viticulturist hailing from America, agreed with this saying that California’s chardonnays are less woody and brash and there seemed to be hints of the possibility of including unwooded wines in the next Celebration of Chardonnay event.

Following on from this was a spectacular lunch by Garth Stroebel of the SA Chef’s Academy which was paired exquisitely with a vast selection of chardonnays from all over South Africa’s wine regions

If I could stock my cellar with any of the Chardonnay’s of the day, I would most definitely gravitate towards the following:

Hartenberg Eleanor Chardonnay 2009
This was the big grin-maker as with its floral and peachy aroma and taste. it had my name written all over it.

Springfield Estate Methode Ancienne Chardonnay 2009
A citrusy fresh smell and tasting of brioche and vanilla pods, I was tempted to walk away with a bottle.

De Wetshof Estate The Site Chardonnay 2009

For me, it had a beautiful candy floss nose with a hint of peach parfait and mango coulis.

It was richly evident that South Africa has a lot to be proud of in the chardonnay’s we deliver and it’s important we continue to develop a love for what many see as The King of the White Grapes.