Home Winners > Winners 2018 > NEW WORLD: Chardonnay South Africa

Winner Details

New World: Chardonnay, South Africa

2018 Gold 2        Silver 7                 Bronze 1             Commended 4
2017 Gold 3        Silver 3                 Bronze 3             Commended 10

If the Aussies have more or less settled on a new look for their Chardonnays, South Africa seems still to be at the trying-on-different-accessories-in-front-of-the-mirror stage. Certainly, we had a less consistent assessment of the wines on show from our tasters here than we did for Australia.

In general, it’s probably fair to say that the Cape’s wines are slightly richer and riper, and overall, as last year, they were pretty well received. Plus, there’s the advantage that the pricing can, at times, be extraordinarily good.

Talking of which, massive congratulations to Kleine Zalze and Journey’s End. Both of these wineries picked up Gold last year, so to follow it up again this year to take the country’s only two places on our 2018 Gold List was a superb achievement.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘A couple years ago we were saying how nice it was that South Africa was going to a mineral, crisper style of Chardonnay, but now they seem to have gone back to the big crème brûlée style.’ Charles Pashby-Taylor, consultant

‘Some were trying to copy Burgundy here, which, to be honest, they did quite a good job of. Others I enjoyed were the creamy, buttery style.’ Aurel Istrate, The Connaught

‘I think people are open to spending more on South Africa. I find a lot of people that want Chardonnay, but want something different, so they go for South Africa.’ Janusz Pawel Sasiadek, Bottles & Battles

‘South Africa is going for that Meursault-on-steroids style, but there’s a place for that. The best examples had nice minerality to balance out the woodiness. After Burgundy and California people aren’t so fussed where it’s from – so they need to justify their price. And these still offer really good value.’ Andrés Ituarte, Coq d’Argent

‘I was expecting some big Chardonnays but they didn’t show up. The oak was there but they maintained some leanness.’ Richard Cavagin-Carey, The Harwood Arms


Award winners

Found 14 wines

New World: Chardonnay, South Africa

Kleine Zalze, Cleefs, Reserve Collection, Chardonnay 2017, Western Cape, South Africa

Gold medal winner By the glass

‘Honeyed, soft, creamy and appealing,’ said team leader Jade Koch of this Gold-worthy Chardonnay, finding it a ‘good, inexpensive example of New World style, lean and drying with pretty mid-palate apricot, nectarine and tropical fruits, and a refreshing finish’. Vinoteca’s Charlie Young, meanwhile, appreciated ‘almond and lemon curd aromas’ as well as ‘some weight here, but great definition, with some minerality to be found, along with very well-integrated oak’.

£7.26 Hatch Mansfield

Journey's End, Destination, Chardonnay 2016, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Gold medal winner

Mario Tomekovic of Smiths of Smithfield admired this Gold medallist’s ‘wide range of fruit aromas’, specifically picking up ‘peaches, pineapple, mango, passion fruit, lime and apples’, before praising a palate with ‘wonderful complexity of flavour, with buttery and yeasty notes followed by minerality and a saltiness lingering on the long finish’. ‘Ripe, yes, but very well made,’ added Vinoteca’s Charlie Young, who described ‘a lovely palate with some depth and power’.

£19.10 Bibendum

Lismore, Chardonnay 2015, Western Cape, South Africa

Silver medal winner

‘Yellow lily floral notes, fresh almonds and juicy, crunchy golden apples on the nose,’ began Melania Bellesini of The Fat Duck, finding plenty going on in a palate of ‘buttery character with the complexity of new oak well integrated, nice acidity and a long, sweetly fruity finish’.

£18.35 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

De Wetshof, The Site, Chardonnay 2015, Robertson, South Africa

Silver medal winner

‘A winner,’ declared team leader Martin Lam, praising its ‘complex ripe melon and citrus nose, and rich palate’. The Pig Hotel’s Jacopo Mazzeo noted: ‘Balanced, savoury, well-integrated oak, alcohol balanced by acidity, with a bit of tannin from the oak adding to the complexity.’

£18.50 Ellis of Richmond

Highlands Road, Chardonnay 2016, Elgin, South Africa

Silver medal winner

Consultant Charles Pashby-Taylor liked this wine’s ‘bright and easy, white grape juice and vanilla, flowery’ character, and team leader Jade Koch highlighted a palate of ‘sweet, rich fruit, dancing and bright with good appealing acids and minerality’, describing it as ‘a moreish Chardonnay’.

£16.75 Highlands Road Wines

Bouchard Finlayson, Missionvale, Chardonnay 2015, Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, South Africa

Silver medal winner

Team leader Martin Lam enjoyed this Chardonnay’s ‘nice, savoury-mineral-citrus nose, then a creamy malic palate with roast nuts on the finish’, while Janusz Pawel Sasiadek of Bottles & Battles highlighted its ‘tropical and citrus fruits, herbal aromas, clean palate and good mineral finish’.

£15.00 Lea & Sandeman

Kleine Zalze, Vineyard Selection, Chardonnay 2017, Western Cape, South Africa

Silver medal winner

‘A flash of oak and complexity on the nose, palate follows through, good depth of flavour,’ began team leader Martin Lam, with Janusz Pawel Sasiadek of Bottles & Battles liking its ‘fresh, crispy nose, quite creamy palate and very good price for quality’.

£7.26 Hatch Mansfield

Elgin Vintners, Chardonnay 2016, Elgin, South Africa

Silver medal winner

Aurel Istrate of The Connaught highlighted this wine’s ‘creamy and buttery nose, nice zesty stone fruit character with fairly prominent acidity’, and thought it ‘well balanced’, while The Pig Hotel’s Jacopo Mazzeo noted: ‘Elegant, well-integrated oak and fresh citrus acidity.’

£11.75 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Restless River, Ava Marie, Chardonnay 2015, Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, South Africa

Silver medal winner

‘Smoky and full, savoury on the nose with well-integrated oak, grip and good acidity on the palate suggesting good potential to age,’ said The Pig Hotel’s Jacopo Mazzeo, while team leader Martin Lam complimented its ‘wet stone, mineral nose, aromatic, complex and serious style with a good citrus element to counter the ripeness’.

£24.50 Swig Wines

Journey's End, Haystack, Chardonnay 2017, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Bronze medal winner

For Aurel Istrate of The Connaught this was ‘extremely perfumed with tropical fruit aromas, and pleasant acidity on a palate of stone fruits’, while Janusz Pawel Sasiadek of Bottles & Battles picked up ‘intense white fruit, peach and apricot along with herbal notes’.

£10.46 Bibendum

Neil Ellis, Whitehall, Chardonnay 2016, Elgin, South Africa

Commended medal winner

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

Commended medal winner

£7.00 Fuller's

Kloovenburg, Barrel Fermented, Chardonnay 2016, Swartland, South Africa

Commended medal winner

£9.00 Boutinot

De Wetshof, Lesca, Chardonnay 2017, Robertson, South Africa

Commended medal winner

 

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