Thursday, October 26, 2017

Prescient Chardonnay Report 2017 convened by Winemag.co.za

Another competition from WineMag.co.za. This time with sponsors Prescient and some great local Chardonnays achieved very high marks. There were 11 wines scoring 93 to 95 this year and we tasted them at The Stack in the Gardens. During the disastrous ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) years Chardonnay became popular worldwide and our winemakers, embracing the challenge, planted it. Sadly many, who had not worked with this noble grape before, gave it far too much new wood contact and put many South Africans off drinking it; it was a tough ride for the industry. But times have changed, much more experience has been gained and we now have much success with different styles appearing. Sales are growing and the wine is being enjoyed. It is also winning many accolades from top judges here and worldwide. We can and do grow and make superb Chardonnay
We do find that the three judges prefer quite a linear, leaner style and they did introduce a French Chardonnay into the blind tasting, which we find rather contentious as we cannot produce this style very often and, maybe, we should be lauding and producing wine which speaks to our own climate and terroirs? There were some excellent Chardonnays for tasting. This noble grape, made famous in the Burgundy area of France, has been grown in South African since the 1980s and plantings total 7% of the national vineyard
Making a statement!?
Swopping stories over a beer were Jonathan Snashall, Miles Mossop, André Morgenthal and Christian Eedes
We were all enjoying some MCC bubbles on the terrace before the awards
Lourensford winemaker Hannes Nel
Rose Jordaan of Bartinney Wines
And then it was time for the awards. The top wines were as follows:
95
Delaire Graff Banghoek Reserve. 2016 Price: R200. Perfume of golden flowers and fruit, honeysuckle and ripe peach, both on nose and palate, with limes and granadilla, wood just in the background and fresh on the finish
Eikendal 2016. Price: R163. Fresh with fennel on the nose, crisp and fresh acidity in layers, heady and enjoyable
 Rustenberg Stellenbosch 2016. Price: R175. Golden Chardonnay nose, so enticing. Sweet fruit in layers nicely balanced. Wood just hinting with caramel and smoke
94
Dabar 2016. Price: R97. From Napier grapes. smoky soft fruitm smooth and sliky on the palate with apples, greengages and a fresh ending
93
Evidence 2016. (Sophie & Julien Schaal) Price: R250. Restrained on the nose, familiar, herbal and fresh
Hartenberg The Eleanor 2015. Price: R325. Shy on the nose with vanilla wood. This is the style of Chardonnay we want to drink Golden fruit, buttery, freshness with a tingle on the end. Made for food
93
Holden Manz Barrel Fermented 2016. Price: R225. Perfumed, waxy on the nose, good fruit on the palate initially then wood takes over
Longridge Organic 2015. Price: R165. Perfumed, a charming entry, layers of fruit and wood, caramel apple and limes with a long finish on a woody end.
 
Paul Cluver Seven Flags 2016. Price: R550. Pure delight, buttery and floral, layers of fruit apple, peaches pineapple with such length. Wood supports not overwhelming.
Tokara Reserve Collection Stellenbosch 2016. Price: R180. Cigar smoke on the nose, Greengage apple and lime on the good palate, freshness on the end
Uva Mira 2016. Price: TBC. Smoky, rounded complete with pears and apples on the nose, butter, lemon and limes with a very fresh finish
 There were also some canapés served. Smoked salmon
Beef tartare
 Roast beef with horseradish
 Small bitterballen and also some arancini balls
 Jacqueline Lahoud announced the winners who all received certificates
 Morné Vrey of Delaire with judge James Pietersen
 Craig Mockford, CEO of Prescient, said that this was their third year as sponsors of this competition, which is in its 7th year. There were 91 wines in the line up and 42 scored 90 or more, which is impressive
 Paying attention
 Christian Eedes told us that this was the first time the competition was open to all, and not by invitation, as it was previously. And not capped at 60 wines. There was an entry fee of R450 per wine. It is extraordinary how wide the selection is, from light to powerful wines. Producers need to be careful of the wines at these edges, the big wines were not rewarded. The styles are reductive vs oxidative. A little burnt match and steel on reductive is good, but wines should not be pinched on the palate. Oxidative characteristics of apple, honey and nuts are also not rewarded, as the judges find them to be more like Chenin in style. The judges were blown away by the quality, the variation in style and the improvement in the vintages, which just continue to get better
Achim and Hildegard von Arnim of Haute Cabrière. Their wine, Haute Cabrière Reserve 2016,priced at R190, scored a creditable 90 points
Rose having fun after the award announcements


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