What I Drank Last Night
Good Booze. Good Food. Good Company.


Sterhuis Chardonnay 2007 vs. Meerlust Chardonnay 2007

Johan Kruger of Sterhuis.

Johan Kruger of Sterhuis.

Yesterday lunch with Johan Kruger of Bottelary property Sterhuis. “No Sauvignon Blanc and salad. This isn’t Durbanville and we aren’t rabbits,” he said. Meat was supplied by Daneel and Ruaan Liebenberg of Joey’s Vleisprodukte in Brackenfell consisting of T-bones, imported free-range ribeye from Namibia and their signature beef brisket boerewors. We dispensed with the notion of “white wine with white meat , red wine with red meat” and stuck to Chardonnay. Accompaniments were boiled potatoes and potato salad. It was that kind of day.

Wines of the day were Sterhuis 2007 drunk next to a Meerlust 2007, both possessing easily enough weight and texture to standard up to the meat. In taste profile remarkably alike, the Sterhuis a touch riper and showing just a little more tropical fruit compared to the Meerlust which had an appealing nuttiness to it. In terms of vinification, again very similar approaches, the Sterhuis undergoing completely natural ferment and receiving 12 months in oak, 65% new; the Meerlust half natural ferment and getting 11 months in oak, 60% new.

The Callender Peak 2007, also made by Kruger from grapes grown near the Agterwitzenberg near Ceres has impressed me before but now seems a bit tired. That received 16 months in oak, 100% new, which was perhaps a bit ambitious. Less is so very often more when it comes to time in barrel.

Comments

  1. Meerlust winemaker Chris Williams contacted me via email to make the following points: “Technically speaking, all ferments carried out by non-gm yeasts are “natural”. I think a better term for what we do is “un-innoculated” or “low dosage” fermentations because the predominant yeast in the winery will perform most of the ferment anyway, just slower, and at a lower dosage. The “native” yeasts from a vineyard (which are probably a cultured yeast anyway, spread over time by skins, compost etc) only last for a few days before the dominant yeast in the winery takes over, as most cultivated yeasts have a “killer” factor which suppresses other species (a sort of uni-cellular ethnic cleansing, if you like…).

    The characteristics of this un-innoculated fermentation are a more savoury, bread-dough like aroma and flavor profile, lower alcohol, slightly higher va and other ferment by- products, as well as slightly higher RS (although in the case of Meerlust Chard 07, the RS is 2.1 because the grapes were picked at a lower balling).”

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