This year's Decanter World Wine Awards International Trophy for the Best in Show Chardonnay over £15 went to Jordan, Chardonnay, Stellenbosch, South Africa 2013 (13.5%)
- Calyptra, Chardonnay Gran Reserva, Cachapoal, Chile 2010
- Montechez, Reserva Chardonnay, Mendoza, Argentina 2013
- Nk’Mip Cellars, Qwam Qwmt Chardonnay, Okanagan Valley, Canada 2012
- Penfolds, Yattarna Chardonnay, Tasmania, Australia 2011
Hundreds of Chardonnays entered this year’s DWWA, and those above £15 were whittled down to five for this Trophy, and all from the New World. Jordan from South Africa was the conqueror – a producer which also won this Trophy two years ago – thanks to its class and restraint driven by a purposeful energy. Our panel were left wanting another glass.
In 1982, Gary Jordan’s parents Ted and Sheelagh bought the 300-year-old farm that was to take the Jordan name. Boasting jaw-dropping views, the vineyards are planted on hilly slopes at altitudes of between 160m and 410m looking out across Stellenbosch to False Bay and Table Mountain. Diverse soil types – from deep, well-drained clay-loams to gravelly and sandy duplex on clay – have evolved from 600 million-year-old Cape granite.
Appropriately enough, geology was Gary Jordan’s previous calling – his wife Kathy was an economist – before they decided to take on responsibility for the 146ha of vineyards in 1992, specialising in classic varieties.
The fruit for this Trophy-winner is planted on unirrigated, 11- to 25-year-old vines selected from clones sourced from both California and Burgundy. The vineyards are situated on the cooler south- and east-facing slopes at 250- 310m, with clever trellising (vertical shoot positioning) and low yields helping to lend complexity and concentration. Close proximity to both the Indian and Atlantic oceans provide cooling breezes, which also help minimise the risk of frost damage.
The gravity-flow winery uses only natural cooling – both preserving fruit quality. Techniques here are very Burgundian, with barrel fermentation in 50% new French oak and nine months’ lees-ageing helping to contribute creamy, toasty complexity.
Written by Decanter