If Chardonnay was a person, it would be a world famous popstar able to travel the planet and to captivate audiences anywhere it visits. Versatile beyond what other varieties would only dream of, Chardonnay thrives and performs in regions as diverse as Napa Valley, Chile, Australia and of course, its most notable residence, Burgundy, where the standard against which all other Chardos are measured is established.
Chardonnay arrived to South Africa during the 20th century when the grape was brought by winemakers aiming to keep up with global trends. Nowadays, it’s the fourth most popular white grape in the country (just over 7,060 ha in 2017), surpassed only by Chenin Blanc, Colombard and Sauvignon Blanc.
Delheim Chardonnay Sur Lie 2014 comes from Stellenbosch, a region just 50 km East of Cape Town, known as a prime spot for top quality South African wines. As it name suggests, the wine was left in contact with its lees (residual yeast that remain in the wine after fermentation) for 11 months. This technique is used to confer wines with flavours and texture, and just by admiring the light gold tone of a glass you’ll differentiate it from lighter, less complex renditions.
A combination of aromas and flavours that can be summarised as “lemon meringue pie” comes to mind: it has the mellow citrus touch, the creaminess of curd, and the slightly toasted, buttery reminiscence of the crumb. The gentle use of French oak by the winemaker is to thank for the fine integration of the wine’s features.
On the palate, a delicate minerality surprises and the limes and lemons are joined by plumper stone fruit -nectarines- and preserved pineapple. With moderate acidity and a rich bodied, this wine is an absolute treat, the words “perfect Friday night wine” were heard at the time of tasting, followed by generous nodding.
Delheim Chardonnay Sur Lie 2014 is available at O’Briens Wine at €22.95 (on offer from €24.95)
Gabriela’s passion for writing is only matched by her love for food and wine. Journalist, confectioner and sommelier, she fell in love with Ireland years ago and moved from Venezuela to Dublin in 2014.
Since then, she has written about and worked in the local food scene, and she’s determined to discover and share the different traditions, flavours and places that have led Irish food and drink to fascinate her.