Stellenbosch winery Kleine Zalze has gained plenty of recognition for its various versions of both Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc but less so for its Chardonnay. Interesting, then, to try its Vineyard Selection Chardonnay 2012, winner of a platinum award at the recent Michelangelo International Wine Awards (presented to wines which the competition’s panel scored 98 or higher – one wonders what they’d do were they to encounter Grand Cru Burgundy from a good vintage).
Grapes were sourced from both Robertson and Stellenbosch and fermentation was begun in tank and completed in barrel, 30% new, 50% second-fill and 20% third-fill, maturation occurring for seven months.
It’s opulent stuff – marmalade, peach and apricot, prominent but not unattractive oak notes, and some yeasty character. Sweet on entry, rich and full although tangy acidity lends some semblance of balance. I suspect some will adore this wine but I find it just a bit too flashy. Price: R73 a bottle.