Tuesday, October 22, 2019

The Prescient Chardonnay Report 2019

This year's Chardonnay Report from Winemag.co.za, in concert with sponsor Prescient Financial Services, was held in the Watershed at the V&A Waterfront last week. There were 93 entries from 65 producers and these were tasted blind (labels out of sight) by a three-person panel. Scoring is done using the 100-point quality scale. An outstanding 52 of the 90 entries (56% of the line up) rated 90-plus. Chardonnay is definitely coming to the fore after a while in the doldrums. It has taken quite a while to get over ABC (Anything But Chardonnay). For many that came about because, for a while when Chardonnay was a new varietal back in the 1990s, and they were discovering how to handle it, much too much oak was used by South African winemakers. Now that we have matured and improved the way we ake wine from this beautiful noble grape, there is gentle and careful use of wood, and we are producing superb Chardonnays in several diverse styles. So do lose your prejudices, should you still have them, and go and taste some of these prize winners
As Editor Christian Eedes said: "Sauvignon Blanc can often be predictable, Chardonnay has something for everyone"
Jacqueline Lahoud, Winemag.co.za's Business Director, began proceedings and later announced the top 10 wines
Many winemakers were present, all of them Chardonnay producers
The venue was new to us and is very spacious, with fantastic views of the city and the mountain
Craig Mockford, MD of Prescient, told us that this is the 5th year of their sponsorship and the 9th Annual Chardonnay report
It was also Prescient's 21st Birthday and they are celebrating Resilience
Editor Christian Eedes asked the question. “What does a bottle of award winning Chardonnay sell for these days?” The average price of the 52 wines to rate 90-plus is R162 a bottle, while the average price of the top 10 is R233 a bottle. Of particular interest to those wine lovers on a tight budget would be the Stellenbosch Vineyards Unwooded 2018; this wine selling for R90 a bottle and placing among the top 10 with a rating of 94 
 There were also another three wines under R100 that each scored a straight 90, these being Durbanville Hills 2018 at R69 a bottle, Meerhof 2018 at R70 and Nederburg The Winemasters 2018 at R75 (prices are ex-cellar and as supplied by the producer at the time of tasting)

To read the full Chardonnay Report click on this link. https://winemag.co.za/prescient-chardonnay-report-2019/
The three judges are Roland Peens, Christian Eedes and James Pietersen
Then came the reveal of the top wines. This is a list of the wines that scored 90 points
Those that scored 91
And then the top wines were revealed, so we could taste them
Creation Reserve Chardonnay has always been a great example of Chardonnay from the cool Hemel and Aarde Valley
This is the 2018 vintage, made by owner /cellarmaster Jean-Claude Martin
Also scoring 93 is the Journey’s End 2018, made by Cellarmaster Leon Esterhuizen and winemaker Mike Dawson
It is clean, rounded and satisfying on the palate. The wood is present. From the Helderberg area, Somerset West
Simonsig 2017 also scored 93 and is full of lovely brioche notes, crisp and a fine minerality; very French in style
A versatile and enjoyable wine that turns you immediately to seek food
Made by Johan Malan and Charl Schoeman in Stellenbosch
Richard Kershaw’s 2018 Clonal Collection Chardonnay also scored 93
Fruit, lees, perfume and wood smoke on the nose. Intense lime, lemon and citrus flavours with minerality and richness
Definitely a wine to choose with food. A wine so carefully and intelligently made. From Elgin
Stellenrust 2018 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay, made by Tertius Boshoff
It has a lees character on the nose; peach, apricot and nut hints too
Sparkling lime & lemon flavours with wood supporting; a refreshing Chardonnay, very drinkable
The Delaire Graff 2018 Banhoek Reserve, made by Morné Vrey, scored 94 points
Perfumed, elegant, it is a lovely rich and full Chardonnay, with crisp and long flavours that make its pairing with food imperative
From Stellenbosch
We have written about the Highlands Road 2017 Chardonnay, which scored 94, twice this week
and this third mention really makes this lovely rich golden wine with apple and peach come to the fore as something special
Made by talented winemaker Vanessa Simkiss, it should demand your attention. From Elgin
We are so pleased to see the Paul Cluver 2017 scoring 94; it has always been our favourite Chardonnay from that estate
Crisp, lean and exactly the crisp and elegant style of Chardonnay we love to drink
One that ages well too and goes so well with food. From Elgin
Stellenbosch Vineyards 2018 unwooded Chardonnay has lots of dark flavours we are told are the lees
It is the most affordable wine in the Top 10 line-up, selling for only R90 a bottle from the cellar door
And, finally, the top scoring wine. A well deserved 95 to De Grendel 2018 Op die Berg Chardonnay
Made by Cellarmaster Charles Hopkins in Durbanville from grapes grown on a Graaff family farm on the Ceres plateau,
this is golden perfection, with pears, greengage plums and citrus and light wood notes. So easy to enjoy
The winemakers with their certificates for the top 10 Chardonnays. Johan Malan, Simonsig; Abraham de Villiers, Stellenbosch Vineyards; Michael White, Highlands Road; Charles Hopkins, De Grendel; Tertius Boshoff, Stelllenrust; Mike Dawson, Journeys End; Richard Kershaw, Kershaw; Kallie Fernhout, Delaire Graff; Jean Claude Martin, Creation; Anné van Heerden, Paul Cluver
Some canapés were served. Tuna and pineapple on skewers in a sweet Asian sauce
very crisp bruschetta topped with onion and paté
and more bruschetta topped with tomato, olives, basil and a creamed cheese
Charles Hopkins, proud Cellarmaster at De Grendel 
Mike Dawson, winemaker at Journeys End, and National Sales Manager Janine Lategan with Jacqueline Lahoud
All content ©  John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus

No comments: