#257 Sutherland Chardonnay 2020
👃🏼 = Big open nose of river stone, reductive struck match, apple blossom, leesy brioche, and a touch of lime leaf.
👄 = Palate is impressively savoury. That reductive stony element from the nose runs right through onto the palate, where it is immediately entangled with fresh lime fruit and tart Granny Smith green apple skin. The green apple and lime acid are joined by a bit of textured lemon rind on the finish which just runs and runs, leaving a tail end longer than a Sunderland losing streak.
VIDEO CHAPTER INDEX:
00:39 – WHERE ARE THE SUTHERLAND VINEYARDS
01:02 – WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO FORM HALLOWED GROUND FOR SOUTH AFRICAN CHARDONNAY?
01:28 – THE CHARDONNAY FLAVOUR SPECTRUM
02:14 – WHAT DOES THE SUTHERLAND CHARDONNAY SMELL AND TASTE LIKE?
02:46 – HOW TO TASTE CHARDONNAY IN COLOURS
04:08 – HOW WAS THE WINE MADE?
04:50 – YEAST GEEK DETAILS
05:15 – WHAT DOE ESTERS DO IN A WINE?
TASTE THE RAINBOW
Chardonnay is the sort of grape that you can taste in colours. Source it from a warm climate, and you can almost feel the sunrays expressed through flavours of Pineapple, or peach fruit, or ripe orange citrus. Source it from a cool climate, and you can sense the tension between tart green apples, fresh cut limes, and breezy white flowers. But more about that in the video.
PLAYING IT COOL
This Sutherland Chardonnay 2020 falls very much into the latter category. But then, this should come as no surprise, being a rather elevated site in the cool Elgin Valley.
Sutherland is a project fully owned and operated by the Thelema gang, and all the fruit grown in the Elgin Vineyards are vinified and bottled by Thelema.
Incidentally, at the recent Elgin Chardonnay Coloquium – a showcase of all of the finest Chardonnays produced in the region, set up in a blind tasting against some stellar international examples from Burgundy, California, and Margaret River in Australia – this Sutherland Chardonnay was an absolute highlight, in all it’s eye-watering acidity, texture, concentration and length.
If you have yet to sign up for your Monthly HanDrinksSolo Wine Subscription then you’ll have to hunt this wine down in your own time. But until then, here are my tasting notes and some technical specs.
🔬 The wine is 100% Chardonnay. The Sutherland vines are a mix of CY 270, CY 548A, 96A & 277D clones. Vines were planted in 2004 and yield roughly 13 tonnes per hectare. The grapes are inoculated with Lalvin M yeast and, after fermentation, is matured in French oak for 10 months. 30% of that is new oak.
Residual Sugar is 2.2, and Total Acid is 6.4g/litre.
Three Bottles that show how Exciting Elgin Wine can be
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#192 Elgin Ridge 282 Chardonnay
#191 Oak Valley Sound of Silence Pinot Noir