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Haute Cabrière Chardonnay Pinot Noir 2013

No sharp edges.
No sharp edges.

I was going to overlook the Chardonnay Pinot Noir 2013 from Haute Cabrière in Franschhoek (R80 a bottle) as I suspected I wouldn’t have anything nice to say about but it then I resolved to put my prejudices aside (or at least try to) in an effort to understand why this wine is so ubiquitous.

My conclusion? It’s the Toyota Corolla of wine – designed for people possessing the lowest possible involvement with the subject. Watery pink in colour. Neutral on nose and palate. Neither sweet nor dry. Not offensive just utterly insipid.

Score: It really doesn’t matter.


  1. Christian, spot on! Its been puzzling me for a while, particularly because my wife loves the stuff. Even after explaining to her that that wine was not good enough to make it as Champaign. Its really just offcuts! But then again, she also likes Fat Bastard chardonnay!?!

  2. Many of my friends love this haute cabriere so much I am sure they regard it as BMW or Merc wine. Spot on when you say it’s the corolla of wine its safe and reliable. I never turn it down when it’s offered to me.

  3. Ummm…sales figures of both the Haute Cabriere chardonnay pinot noir and of the Corolla range are the envy of their competitors, which must say something – or hear what Michael Fridjhon wrote about the wine recently: “almost every wine in the (Cabriere) range has been made to meet consumer demand, not to tell the wine drinker what to drink”.

  4. Though I haven’t tasted this vintage, the 2009 was an absolute highlight of my trip to SA and my personal wine tour through Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarll, so much so that almost four years later I recall warmly the tasting. I haven’t remembered a wine with such clarity previously or since. So that goes to show that this wine does really matter. It’s a fascinating blend and it’s clearly never meant for champagne, it’s meant as it is. A much later picked chardonnay pinot noir blend, and a stunning one at that. If it was freely available here, I would have no trouble forking out R80 for each of 12 bottles I would love to purchase.


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