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Home Winners > Winners 2017 > NEW WORLD: Chardonnay South Africa

Winner Details

New World: Chardonnay, South Africa

2017 Gold: 3 Silver: 3 Bronze: 3 Commended: 10
2016 Gold: 3 Silver: 4 Bronze: 2 Commended: 6

Mixed feedback from our tasters here. Some teams felt the country performed best at the lower end, others that things hotted up around the £12 mark. All of which suggests that there’s both quality and room for improvement all over.

Certainly, our Gold-Listed wines were a bit of both: amazing value for money and sheer well-priced pedigree. This is a solidly reliable area of the Sommelier Wine Awards now, and the growing number of Commendeds this year suggests that there’s more good stuff to come in the future.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘The average standard was high. But the highs weren’t as high as we would have liked them to be.’ Simon Woods, team leader
‘A bit more phenolic ripeness would have been a good thing. But overall, encouraging.’ Neil Tabraham, Paris House

‘There’s a very European flavour to the wines we’ve just tasted. They’re not big, buttery styles, there’s quite a lot of minerality, almost Chablis-esque.’ Tim McLaughlin-Green, Sommelier’s Choice

‘I think we were expecting more at the entry level. But it got much better as we got up to the £12-£15 mark.’ Martin Lam, team leader

‘I have an Elgin Chardonnay on my list – it’s very good value for money and very popular.’ Rustem Mingaleev, Bovey Castle

Award winners

Found 19 wines

New World: Chardonnay, South Africa

Kleine Zalze, Cleefs, Reserve Collection, Chardonnay 2016, Western Cape, South Africa

Gold medal winner Pub & Bar

A considered approach and a great price convinced our judges that this deserved the Gold. ‘Controlled not overblown Chardonnay, with grapefruit notes and slightly buttery on the finish,’ began Tim McLaughlin-Green of Sommelier’s Choice, while Charles Van Wyk of FJB Hotels found it a ‘well-made and balanced wine offering a nose of peach and apricot with lovely weighty mouthfeel coming from clever use of oak, flavours of almond, apricot and limey refreshing acidity’.

£6.59 Hatch Mansfield

Journey's End, Single Vineyard, Chardonnay 2015, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Gold medal winner

A clear candidate for Gold, with a ‘creamy texture, smoky oak notes and stone fruits on the palate, and an elegant and balanced palate’, praised Bovey Castle’s Rustem Mingaleev, while team leader Martin Lam appreciated its ‘chalky, wet stone nose and a good citrus lift on the palate’. Portland Restaurant’s James Fryer described ‘super-opulent peach and apricot notes, with some almond on the finish’, while team leader Tom Forrest thought it a match for cod loin.

£12.11 Bibendum

Elgin Vintners, Chardonnay 2015, Elgin, South Africa

Gold medal winner

With its structure and freshness, judges found another Chardonnay Gold for South Africa. ‘Plenty of oak, but a cool, almost herby, fynbos style; good, young, but with lovely balance and high cheekbones,’ began team leader Simon Woods. ‘Powerful aromas of vanilla, almonds and ripe apricot,’ said Charles Van Wyk of FJB Hotels, noting ‘good concentration and a weighty mouthfeel, which finishes very refreshing with a lemony acidity’. This was an ideal partner for monkfish with pancetta, thought team leader Tom Forrest.

£8.81 Gordon & MacPhail

Journey's End, Destination, Chardonnay 2015, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Silver medal winner

‘Delicate citrus nose, and showing restraint and elegance on the palate, with a creamy finish,’ began consultant sommelier Rebecca Coates, while team leader Tom Forrest appreciated ‘sweet oak and sweet ripe pineapple and mango, leading to rounded oak on the palate, and more ripe pineapple, with a mineral finish’.

£17.68 Bibendum

Neil Ellis, Whitehall, Chardonnay 2015, Elgin, South Africa

Silver medal winner

‘A mineral, Chablis-like style with hints of buttery fruit, the palate quite restrained with fresh oak coming through on the aftertaste, which is long and shows great potential, too,’ said an impressed Tim McLaughlin-Green of Sommelier’s Choice.

£13.80 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Lismore, Chardonnay 2014, Western Cape, South Africa

Silver medal winner

Neil Tabraham of Paris House enjoyed its ‘clean, peach and melon nose with a fuller style, juicy and zesty palate, a well-made foodie Chardonnay with a long, bright and complex finish.’ Coworth Park Ascot’s Michael Fiducia, meanwhile, appreciated ‘baked apples and peaches, with a wonderful mouthfeel’.

£17.31 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Jordan, Barrel Fermented, Chardonnay 2015, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Bronze medal winner

Consultant sommelier Rebecca Coates enjoyed this Chardonnay’s ‘creamy yoghurt character and oak on the nose, a balanced and flavoursome style with a round finish, a serious effort’, while Rustem Mingaleev of Bovey Castle described it as having ‘clean, white stone fruits, vanilla and smoke notes’.

£10.60 Alexander Wines, H2Vin

Fleur du Cap, Unfiltered, Chardonnay 2015, Western Cape, South Africa

Bronze medal winner

A ‘classic with full flavour’, said Tim McLaughlin-Green of Sommelier’s Choice, ‘pure style, clean and elegant with ripe fruit, balanced and refreshing. An engaging, buttery Chardonnay that’s great value and needs food.’

£9.63 Distell International

Dorrance, Cuvée Anaïs, Chardonnay 2014, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Bronze medal winner

‘Reaching its peak soon, this has stone fruit ripeness on the nose and a creamy citrus palate, with some oaky tannins,’ said team leader Martin Lam, while Charles Carron Brown of The Forest Side Grasmere found ‘tropical fruit, melon, banana and honeysuckle, with a subtle amount of oak’.

£15.58 Top Selection Ltd

Baleia, Inge, Chardonnay 2014, Cape South Coast, South Africa

Commended medal winner

Benguela Cove, Chardonnay 2014, Walker Bay, South Africa

Commended medal winner

Kleine Zalze, Vineyard Selection, Chardonnay 2016, Western Cape, South Africa

Commended medal winner

Riebeek Cellars, Kasteelberg, Chardonnay 2015, Swartland, South Africa

Commended medal winner

£7.00 Fuller's

Creation, Chardonnay 2015, Walker Bay, South Africa

Commended medal winner

£17.25 Bibendum

Journey's End, Haystack, Chardonnay 2015, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Commended medal winner

£9.58 Bibendum

Kloovenburg, Chardonnay 2015, Swartland, South Africa

Commended medal winner

£9.47 Bibendum

Springfield Estate, Wild Yeast, Chardonnay 2014, Robertson, South Africa

Commended medal winner

£11.86 Bibendum

Stellenrust, Chardonnay 2015, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Commended medal winner

£8.56 Bibendum

Fram, Chardonnay 2015, Western Cape, South Africa

Commended medal winner

£9.19 Enotria&Coe

 

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