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Lothian Vineyards Chardonnay 2017
The cool climate of Elgin is ideal for producing elegant Burgundian-style whites and this example from Lothian Vineyards is no exception. This stunning wine is made with top quality grapes from the estate’s three blocks of Chardonnay vines which are harvested by hand at optimal ripeness. On arrival at the winery the grapes are pressed as whole bunches and allowed a period of skin contact to add complexity and structure to the wine.
Following fermentation in stainless steel tanks to preserve the graceful varietal character, the young wine is transferred to French oak barrels for 10 months. The result is a richly-flavoured white wine with enticing notes of white peach, apricot, vanilla, and lemon zest. On the palate there is a full body, intense flavours, and firm structure which will help the wine to age gracefully over the next five years or so.
Lothian Vineyards sits on the banks of the Palmiet River and boasts perfectly-sited vineyards planted with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Riesling. This stunning estate was born of the Wilson family’s long search to find the ideal spot to produce Burgundian-style red and white wines and now produces some of Elgin’s most elegant bottlings.
Jordan Nine Yards Chardonnay 2016
The Jordan story began in 1982 when Ted and Sheelagh purchased the 164 hectare estate in Stellenbosch and began to replant the land with varieties which were best suited to the local terroir. In 1993 Ted and Sheelagh’s son, Gary, and his wife Kathy took over the running of the estate and set the winery on a path to producing world-class wines.
Gary and Kathy focus their attention on the natural advantages of their vineyards which are blessed with a pleasant Mediterranean climate and need little intervention in the winery to produce outstanding wines. The hot summers are cooled by breezes and early morning mists coming from the nearby Atlantic and Indian Oceans which helps to preserve a balancing acidity in their wines.
Made with grapes sourced from the couple’s top vineyard, the Chardonnay vines used for this wine face south and east which helps to moderate temperatures and create an delicate aromatic character in the grapes. The result is a vibrant and elegant Chardonnay which bursts with fresh lime and lemon zest along with gentle hints of vanilla from the barrel fermentation and 11 months of maturation on the lees. The first sip reveals a rich creamy texture and intense fresh tropical fruit flavours which linger long on the tongue.
Jordan Cobblers Hill 2015
Set on the site of a historic 300-year old farm in the idyllic surroundings of Stellenbosch Kloof, the Jordan estate’s modern incarnation as a top South African producer began in 1982 when Ted and Sheelagh purchased the 146 property in 1982. The couple extensively replanted the 146 hectare farm and carefully selected varietals which were a good match for the local soil and climatic conditions. Gary and Cathy Jordan, the couple’s son and daughter-in-law, spent a couple of years working internationally to learn the winemaking trade before returning home in 1993 to take over the running of the estate.
This unique wine honours the Jordan family’s history as talented cobblers and is a limited release wine crafted from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc grapes. The unique climatic conditions of Stellenbosch Kloof make this an excellent area for growing these Bordeaux varietals as the vineyards enjoy a Mediterranean climate cooled by early morning mists and breezes from the nearby False Bay. The result is perfectly-balanced, aromatic grapes that are both ripe and concentrated as well as fresh and spicy.
The intense dark cherry, blackcurrant and cacao character of this wine make it an excellent partner for hearty dishes like steak or beef bourguignon. If you prefer to wait a while, thanks to the 24 months of ageing this is a complex wine which will mature well in the cellar over the next decade or so.
Beaumont Chenin Blanc 2019
This vibrant unoaked Chenin Blanc is a fantastic example of the zesty white wines coming out of South Africa today. On the nose there are seductive hints of lemon, honeysuckle, and white peaches, while the first sip offers a vivacious freshness, light body, and intense stone fruit and citrus flavours. The grapes are vinified in stainless steel tanks which helps to showcase the delicious fruit character of the Chenin Blanc variety and preserves the natural freshness.
The pure, clean character of this wine makes it an excellent aperitif to serve poolside or in the garden on a hot summer’s day. It also combines well with sushi, salads, and an array of fresh seafood and fish dishes thanks to the citrus flavours and mouthwatering acidity.
The Beaumont estate was born in 1994 when Jayne and her late husband Raoul left the local co-operative system to strike out on their own. They renovated the property at Compagnes Drift which had formerly been an 18th century outpost for the Dutch East India Company. In recent years the couple’s son, Sebastian, has taken on the running of the estate and established a reputation for exceptional Chenin Blanc wines.
Stark Conde Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
Set in the picturesque and rugged Jonkershoek Valley in Stellenbosch, Stark Conde is a family-run winery with some 85 acres currently under vine. The valley is characterised by steep changes in elevation with vineyards varying between 150-600 metres above sea level. This helps to create complex, multi-faceted wines which are crafted using traditional techniques and precise methods including hand-sorting of the grapes and small-batch fermentation.
This robust Cabernet is made in a powerful yet approachable style from fruit sourced from four Stellenbosch mountain vineyards planted on the region’s characteristic iron-rich granite soils. The grapes are typically harvested in mid-March at optimum maturity and are carefully sorted manually to ensure only top quality fruit goes into this bottling. Following vinification the young wine is aged in French oak barrels for 20 months before being bottled and released.
Crushed blackberries, cedar and tea leaf notes characterise the nose while the palate offers intense dark berry notes seasoned with dried herbs, mocha and cigar box spice. The powerful flavour profile is complemented by firm tannins and a well-built structure which will mellow over the next few years in the cellar. A great partner for typical South African braai or barbecue or roasted red meats.
Klein Constantia Estate Red 2017
With a noble history which dates back to 1685, Klein Constantia is one of South Africa’s most revered wineries. The property occupies a stunning setting in the foothills of foothills of the Constiaberg with views over towards nearby False Bay. Conditions here are ideal for producing premium wines thanks to the cooling ocean breezes which create a very long ripening period and help to preserve freshness and aromatic complexity in the grapes.
This robust red is crafted from Cabernet Sauvignon along with smaller proportions of Petit Verdot and Malbec. The grapes are carefully harvested from selected parcels at optimum ripeness with only the best quality grapes chosen to be used in this wine. Following vinification the young wine is transferred to French oak barrels for 16 months of maturation.
Black cherries, cassis and mulberries characterise the nose while the palate is bursting with big bold berry flavours and more delicate hints of woodsmoke, black pepper, and vanilla from the oak ageing. Smooth tannins, a firm structure and ripe fruit flavours make this a great partner for flavoursome red meat dishes, although it can also be cellared for another six or so years.