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Christian Eedes Chardonnay Report 2012: Top 10 Wines

The second annual Christian Eedes Chardonnay Report presented in conjunction with Sanlam Private Investments is now out. This involved putting together a line-up of 60 high-profile wines, either currently available or soon to be released,  and then subjecting them to a blind tasting.

The top 10 wines were as follows:

FIVE STARS

Jordan Barrel Fermented 2011
Price: R109 (to be released 1 November).

Uva Mira Single Vineyard 2011
Price: R200

FOUR AND A HALF STARS

Almenkerk 2011
Price: R145

Hamilton Russell Vineyards 2011
Price: R290

Hartenberg 2010
Price: R78

KWV The Mentors 2011
Price: R111

Radford Dale 2011
Not yet released.

Sterhuis Barrel Selection 2010
Price: R105

Sumaridge 2010
Price: R150

Tokara Reserve Collection Walker Bay 2011
Price: R121

To read the tasting report in full, download the following: Christian Eedes Chardonnay Report 2012

Comments

  1. Christian says:

    Hi Jhandre, Better “Not yet released” than “sold out”.

  2. Hi Christian, I was quite excited to see 2 bottelary wines on the top 10 list. The Sterhuis is quite an excellent wine, unfortunately the Hartenberg is not available for sale yet which is a bit of an irritation especially as it seems to be the best value option on the list.

  3. Wine has so many nuances. Therefore the difference in opinion. However, I think you should taste what is in the glass. Hence, if the oak is not integrated when you taste it, I guess one needs to assess it accordingly.

  4. Clash of the heavyweights. Pacman v mayweather

  5. Christian says:

    Hi Tim, My recommendations regarding when to drink are inherently conservative – rather a year too early than a day too late, as the saying goes. They’re also an indication of when I think most people will get the most enjoyment out of the wines – past a certain point, how much you like a wine comes down to your individual tolerance for developed characteristics. You refer to the Chamonix Rerserve needing to “emerge from its oakiness” after five years but however much it might not sit with conventional wisdom, I might counter that it is simply too oaky, now and in the future. In any event, a 3.5 Star rating positions the wine somewhere between “good” and “excellent” so it’s hardly been rubbished. The Uva Mira, on the other hand, has a residual sugar of 3.5g/l which is not exactly off the scale and is made by spontaneous fermentation, this explaining why it’s not as dry as it might be – obviously I and my colleagues thought there was plenty else to recommend it. Anecdotally, I have over the course of the year been working my way through a case of Ataraxia Chardonnay 2007, a wine which you nominated for 5 Stars in Platter’s 2009 and which was subsequently endorsed – four out of five bottles so far have been more or less shot.

  6. Tim James says:

    Hi Christian – you were writing recently on wine.co.za about competitions, and this latest one of yours helps highlight one of the problems (I don’t deny there are also advantages) of tasting wines without any understanding of their track record. So that, for example, you note that the Chamonix Reserve 2011 (widely recognised as on of the best local chards, but here scoring just 3.5 stars, in the good company of Ataraxia and some other wines generally regarded as preeminent) has its oak currenlty “sitting apart”. You give it a shelf life of a maximum 5 years, saying it will start its very brief drinking window in 2013 and end it in 2016. Now, anyone who knows anything about Chamonix Chardonnay Reserve knows that it is oaky in youth, and will usually only start emerging from that oakiness into its full complexity after an absolute minimum of 5 years. A tasting like this cannot take such understanding into account and therefore you are almost inevitably going to underrate it (as you have some other wines here, I’d suggest, while rewarding sweetness – the problem for me with the Uva Mira on my one tasting of it a few months back.)
    In fact, the most notably startling thing from your report is the short life you have decided that most of these chardonnays have. Five years seems to be your maximum expectation – I’d suggest that that is radically wrong. Some of these chardonnays are, judging by their track records, going to mature well for longer than that and will keep for ages. I remember that when Jancis Robinson tasted at the Trophy Wine Show some years back, when a ten year old Chamonix won a Museum Class gold, she remarked how few places outside Burgundy could make chardonnays that matured so well. It’s a pity that you can produce something called a “Report” and fail to notice this hugely important factor.

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