Chamonix Chardonnay 1999

Last night an informal dinner for 2011 Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show judges at Marc’s restaurant in Paarl. A mix-and-match approach to food and wine, with some judges bringing special bottles to share with colleagues.

Main-course menu options included pan-fried Kabeljou, Wildebeest Wellington style and trio of butternut – gratin, carpaccio and risotto. After a day of judging 133 examples of Shiraz, I was in a white wine frame of mind and accordingly opted for the fish to accommodate the interesting array of Chardonnay on the table.

Old gold. And that’s not just the label…

Bouchard Finlayson Kaaimansgat 2003 seemed past its best; Oak Valley 2010 was youthful but showed promise; the particular bottle of Paul Cluver 2009 on the table seemed particularly reduced; the Jordan Nine Yards 2009 rich but balanced and not quite as forceful as previous vintages. “Have you pulled it back?” I asked of Jordan owner and winemaker as well as fellow judge Gary Jordan. “We had to,” he replied.

White of the evening, however, was Chamonix Chardonnay 1999, winner of best museum class example at the 2009 competition. An extra two years have done it no harm at all: some waxy developed character on the nose but still remarkably fresh on the palate with pronounced citrus and fresh acidity.

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