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Home Winners > Winners 2015 > NEW WORLD: Chardonnay South Africa

Winner Details

New World: Chardonnay, South Africa


2015: Gold 3 Silver 3 Bronze 4 Commended 4
2014: Gold 3 Silver 8 Bronze 3 Commended 2

South Africa’s showing in Chardonnay last year took our tasters hugely by surprise. And though this year it was always going to be a struggle to live up to the sheer depth of medals of 2014, the performance was good enough to prove that last year was no fluke.

There was plenty of good wine (in a slightly fruitier style than Australian Chardonnay) and impressive pricing – with half the medal winners under £10, so perhaps a bit of inconsistency is to be expected. Either way, a category to watch.

 

From The Tasting Teams


‘A very impressive flight, with very good integration and balance throughout the wines. Consistently high quality.’ Michael Harrison, consultant

‘Their winemakers appear to be making the best wines from their grapes and soils, rather than forcing a style. The quality was very good across the flight.’ Jonathan Kleeman, The Ritz Hotel

‘Very good value across the flight, no bimbo wines, and some of that fynbos character coming through, so a real sense of being South African.’ Simon Woods, team leader

‘A very interesting, diverse range running between lean and very pleasing to rich and oaky styles, with the top end comparable to Burgundy, but at about half the price for the same quality.’ Sarah Guignard, The French Table

‘People think of South Africa as being an inexpensive alternative, but it’s making really good strides in terms of quality. When looking at £10 cost, South Africa’s wines can be really outstanding, so we need to communicate this to the customers.’
Yves Desmaris MS, Lutyens

Award winners

Found 14 wines

New World: Chardonnay, South Africa

Ataraxia, Chardonnay 2013, Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Walker Bay, South Africa

Gold medal winner

‘Rich, savoury, confident style, long and svelte, a really grown-up wine,’ said team leader Simon Woods of this 100% barrel fermented, French barrique-aged wine which took to the Gold-medal podium. ‘Juicy, persistent and austere but still delivering and will develop,’ said La Petite Maison’s Andrea Fasan, while Sarah Guignard of The French Table said: 'Very appealing, subtle nose, with racy tones of mint and lemon, leading to a fresh, and lively long finish.'

£16.75 Bancroft Wines

MAN Family Wines, Padstal, Chardonnay 2014, Coastal Region, South Africa

Gold medal winner

Full of generous fruit, this brought home South Africa's first Chardonnay Gold, and at what a price! ‘Restrained nose with classic Chardonnay fruit, followed by a clean attack, juicy and pure fruit palate with a touch of tartness in the finish. Vibrant,’ said Andrea Fasan of La Petite Maison. 'Tropical fruit flavour, with length and creaminess,' said Sarah Guignard of The French Table, concluding: 'An uncomplicated crowd-pleaser,'

£6.55 Enotria&Coe

Newton Johnson, Southend, Chardonnay 2013, Walker Bay, South Africa

Gold medal winner

Texture and a touch of sophistication gave Newton Johnson not just Gold, but the coveted Roast Chicken Food Match trophy. Jonathan Kleeman of The Ritz Hotel found ‘sweet fruit with a touch of cream’, supported by an ‘oak-based structure with some background spice and a long finish on a strong body. If Meursault and Napa Valley Chardonnay had a baby, this would be it!' Sarah Guignard of The French Table said: 'Lovely austere nose, with balanced tropical fruit salad and creamy minerals on the finish.'

£11.54 Bibendum

Glenelly, Grand Vin, Chardonnay 2013, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Silver medal winner

‘Medium intensity, lifted oaky nose with smoky hints, and good integration on the palate,’ said consultant Michael Harrison, with team leader Simon Woods adding: ‘Ripe apple and gentle herbs.' Sarah Guignard of The French Table noted: 'Interesting and complex, with melon and pineapple.'

£9.02 Seckford Agencies

Stellenrust, Chardonnay 2014, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Silver medal winner

‘Mineral and aromatic, quite complex and well textured. A more modern SA wine style, more Chablis than Chasagne,’ said team leader Martin Lam, with Roger Jones of The Harrow at Little Bedwyn adding: ‘Savoury, spiced and controlled, with limey complexity, this is evolving.’

£8.53 Bibendum

Jordan, Nine Yards, Chardonnay 2013, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Silver medal winner

‘Pearlescent appearance, with good fruit, nice apple notes and a long, buttery finish,’ said consultant Michael Harrison. ‘Creamy peach with yellow apples and notes of vanilla oak,’ added The Ritz Hotel’s Jonathan Kleeman.

£15.20 H2Vin

Kleine Zalze, Vineyard Selection, Chardonnay 2014, Western Cape, South Africa

Bronze medal winner

‘Rich and fruity, has some citrus features but it’s peachy pear that comes through,’ began team leader Simon Woods, with Jonathan Kleeman of The Ritz Hotel adding: ‘Rich, creamy texture behind the tropical fruit, coating the whole mouth.’

£7.09 Hatch Mansfield

Glen Carlou, Quartz Stone, Chardonnay 2013, Paarl, South Africa

Bronze medal winner

‘Good, refreshing, clean, deep and concentrated, with lovely balance of spice and brooding fruit with a lingering finish. Good wine,’ said Roger Jones of The Harrow at Little Bedwyn. ‘Complex, lees and fruit, expressive, not just a Chardonnay,’ agreed team leader Martin Lam.

£13.75 Liberty Wines

Bouchard Finlayson, Missionvale, Chardonnay 2013, Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Walker Bay, South Africa

Bronze medal winner

'Classic varietal nose, well balanced with soft middle palate fruit weight and a vibrant, savoury finish of great polish and length,' said a satisfied Andrea Fasan of La Petite Maison.

£11.91 Seckford Agencies

Jordan, Barrel Fermented, Chardonnay 2013, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Bronze medal winner

‘Bright, fresh and intense but well controlled in a Burgundian style, nutty and delicate with pineapple notes,’ said Roger Jones of The Harrow at Little Bedwyn, adding: ‘Long, lingering and lovely palate cleanser.’

£9.70 H2Vin

Rietvallei, JMB, Chardonnay 2014, Robertson, South Africa

Commended medal winner

Rietvallei, Classic, Chardonnay 2014, Robertson, South Africa

Commended medal winner

Distell, Durbanville Hills, Chardonnay 2014, Western Cape , South Africa

Commended medal winner

£8.30 Matthew Clark

De Wetshof, Bateleur, Chardonnay 2012, Robertson, South Africa

Commended medal winner

 

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