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Spot review: Chardonnay

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A selection of recently received Chardonnay samples tasted sighted and scored according to the 20-point system:

Mont Rochelle Barrel Fermented 2008
Franschhoek – 13.5%
Pale yellow, green tinge. Faint reductive note on generally shy nose. Concentrated fruit (more lime than lemon), fresh to the point of hard acidity, well judged oak. Very youthful, tight. Drink now – 2013
Score; 15.5/20

Joubert –Tradauw Barrel Fermented 2010
Tradouw – 13%
Pale yellow. Citrus blossom on the nose. Light bodied, clean and fresh. Lime flavour before a pithy finish. A pretty wine. Drink now – 2013.
Score: 15/20

Napier Saint Catherine Single Vineyard 2008
Pale yellow, slightly dull. Complex nose showing yeasty, leesy notes, vanilla and some development. Distinct marmalade character to palate before savoury, slightly bitter finish. Rustic but has interest. Drink now.
Score: 15/20

Seven Springs Vineyards 2010
Overberg – 13.5%
Pale yellow. Hint of vanilla on otherwise neutral nose. Intense lem-lime flavour, fresh acidity, well judged oak. Harmonious, appealing but no great complexity. Drink now – 2013.
Score: 15/20

Journey’s End Haystack 2011
Coastal Region – 13.5%
Pale yellow. Very primary on nose and palate. Somewhat lacking in fruit weight, finishes a little short but inoffensive overall.
Score: 14.5/20

General observation: SA Chardonnay really is a rock solid category with even the most humble operations turning out perfectly drinkable wines. None of the above could be considered over-wooded, for instance.

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