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SA vs Rest of World Chardonnay tasting

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Errazuris Las Pizarras 2017
Out in front.

Yesterday, the fifth annual South Africa vs the Rest of the World tasting organized by Tim Atkin and Samantha O’Keefe of Lismore in Greyton took place, this time featuring Chardonnay.

There were 35 wines in total, 22 from South Africa and 13 from the rest of the world. Those in attendance included: Tim Atkin MW, Nadia Barnard (Waterkloof); Andries Berger (Paul Cluver); Alex Dale (Radford Dale); Christian Eedes; Lizelle Gerber (Boschendal); Kevin Grant (Ataraxia); Richard Kershaw (Kershaw); Jean-Claude Martin (Creation); Andrea and Chris Mullineux (Mullineux and Leeu Passant); Samantha O’Keefe (Lismore); Gordon and Nadia Newton Johnson (Newton Johnson) and Craig Wessels (Restless River).

The overall top 10 was as follows:

1. Errázuriz Las Pizarras, Aconcagua Costa 2017 (Chile)
2. Black Book Clayhill Vineyard, Essex 2017 (England)
3. Marc Morey Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru Les Referts 2014 (Burgundy)
4. Radford Dale Chardonnay 2017 (South Africa)
5. Kershaw Clonal Selection 2017 (South Africa)
6. Waterkloof Circumstance 2017 (South Africa)
7. Leeu Passant Stellenbosch 2016 (South Africa)
8. Domaine Hubert Lamy St Aubin Premier Cru Les Frionnes 2015 (France)
9. Meerlust 2017 (South Africa)
10. Leeuwin Art Series, Margaret River 2015 (Australia)

My top wines were as follows:
1. Hubert Lamy Saint-Aubin 1er Cru Les Frionnes 2015 (France) – 97
2.= Kumeu River Mate’s Vineyard 2015 (New Zealand) – 96
2.= Leeu Passant Stellenbosch 2015 (South Africa) – 96
2.= Leeuwin Art Series 2015 (Australia) – 96
2.=Terrazas Grands Terroirs 2018 (Argentina) – 96
6. Samuel Billaud Séchet Chablis Premier Crus 2016 (France) – 95
7.= Ataraxia CWG Under the Gavel 2015 (South Africa) – 94
7.= Oak Valley Groenlandberg 2017 (South Africa) – 94
7.= Waterkloof Circumstance 2017 (South Africa) – 94

Some general observations: There was very little to separate the 35 wines in terms of quality and choosing between them often came down to stylistic preference. Those gathered agreed that discerning one region from another was almost impossible with such factors as picking date and winemaking technique influencing outcome as much if not more than place of origin.

Read Tim Atkin MW’s report here.

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