Cape Chardonnay wins ‘best in the world’

Not so long ago it was “ABC” when it came to choosing white wine: “Anything But Chardonnay”. Times have changed, and the wine estates beyond Cape Town are producing world-class Chardonnay to teach Burgundy a thing or two.

In the world of Chardonnay, competitions don’t get much more prestigious than the Chardonnay du Monde. In 2015 this annual competition was held at Château des Ravatys in the heart of Burgundy, the traditional home of Chardonnay in France.

Can you imagine the Gallic unhappiness when a New World wine from South Africa beat the Burgundians at their own game? Judged against 800 entries from across the globe, Groot Constantia’s 2013 Chardonnay was judged the best in the world.

“Our Chardonnay has always been an over-achiever,” says Jean Naudé, chief executive of Groot Constantia, an estate with a wine tradition stretching back 330 years.

The vineyards’ sea views had plenty to do with the award, says estate viticulturist Floricius Beukes: “The summer breezes from the Atlantic Ocean have a big impact on our vineyards, keeping them healthy and retaining the amazing fruit character.”

The Cape vineyards are no one-trick-pony in the world of Chardonnay, though. Stellenbosch cellar Fleur du Cap bagged a gold medal for its Unfiltered Chardonnay 2014, while the likes of Boschendal, Glen Carlou and Tokara were awarded medals at the global Chardonnay showcase.

Beyond the mantelpiece of awards, also look out for Chardonnay from the likes of Elgin estate Iona, DeMorgenzon outside Stellenbosch, and the glorious unwooded Chardonnay from Robertson estate Springfield.

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