February 26, 2017

Celebrating Chardonnay via Sonoma and Stellenbosch

By In Photographs, Wine To Try
In that on-going exploration of wine where the obscure is a craving, it is easy to ignore the classics. There is a reason why grape varieties such as Chardonnay are deemed a classic. For wine drinkers this comes down to its “broad, easy-to-appreciate… charms”. It is one of those go-anywhere, thrive-anywhere, grapes that laps up style trends (oak for example) with ease and can reflect the local environment beautifully. Think Chablis compared to Australia. Virgin Wines have thrown a couple of Chards my way to demonstrate its delights; all part of their Celebrating Chardonnay initiative.

From Sonoma County in far California, the gloriously smooth, Kunde Chardonnay 2015 (£16.99) comes from a family-owned estate, producing wines that “are expressive of their origin and sustainably farmed“. Alongside the lemon and appley flavours is a touch of hazelnut. Winemaker Zach Long goes for “minimal intervention and maximum expression“. He walks the vines everyday apparently. Just to keep in tune with the vines.

In contrast the B Vintners Chardonnay 2014, from Stellenbosch, South Africa (£19.99) is fresher, a little more textured, and every bit as drinkable. The grapes are sourced from a single vineyard that overlooks False Bay. Cousins Gavin Bruwer and Bruwer Raats founded B Vintners with the idea of “producing innovative wines with a simple approach – to express a sense of place“.

Celebrating Chardonnay via Sonoma and Stellenbosch

Celebrating Chardonnay - Kunde Chardonnay, Sonoma, California

Celebrating Chardonnay – Kunde Chardonnay, Sonoma, California

Celebrating Chardonnay - B Vintners Chardonnay, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Celebrating Chardonnay – B Vintners Chardonnay, Stellenbosch, South Africa

The Strandwolf vineyard overlooks the beaches of False Bay, until the 19th century prior to relocation, the strand wolf, also known as the brown hyena, roamed these beaches. The wine is a celebration of their memory.

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