If I had to pick one grape that impressed me above all others on my recent trip to the Cape, I think it would have to be Chardonnay.
It seems to me that South African Chardonnay might just be on the cusp of greatness as a new generation of winemakers and growers take it to a whole new level. This is particularly impressive when you factor that Chardonnay is still relatively young in the Cape with its oldest vines dating back to 1985.
What excited me most was the growing awareness of soil, site and aspect in the vineyard. But also careful handling in the cellar so that this expression can shine through. Arguably, Chardonnay’s greatest South African exponent and locomotive is Danie de Wet who believes that is the grape that paved the way for terroir and regionality in South Africa.
- READ: plan a trip to the South African wine making regions of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek with our travel guide.
That vision is clearly taking shape with different terroir expressions from Robertson, Stellenbosch, Constantia, Elandskloof and Hemel en Aarde. Here are 10 of my favourites.
John’s top South African Chardonnay: