Warwick The First Lady Unoaked Chardonnay 2013

By , 10 February 2014



Neither one thing nor the other.

Neither one thing nor the other.

From all accounts unoaked Chardonnay is enjoying increasing commercial success locally but I remain bemused by it.

Take the 2013 vintage of The First Lady from Warwick in Stellenbosch (R75 a bottle). Named in honour of the property’s matriarch Norma Ratcliffe, the back label explains that it was “deliberately crafted with a fruit-driven style in mind” and there’s indeed plenty of lemon and yellow peach in evidence.

The thing is its rather rich and broad and in addition to all that fruit, there’s quite a lot of yeasty complexity. Technically, it’s more than sound but I’m not sure what the drinking occasion is supposed to be – it lacks that lean and pithy quality of Chablis and if you’re looking for extra dimension then why not go the whole hog and drink wooded Chardonnay?

Score: 86/100.


2 comment(s)

  • Albrecht10 February 2014

    Hi Christian

    Not knowing what comparable wines go for in general in the unwooded chardonnay category, I think the answer lies in the price at R75. Nothing too fussy, easy drinking.

    This is cheaper than Haute Cabriere Chardonnay Pinot Noir!! 🙂


  • Kwispedoor10 February 2014

    I’m with you, Christian. I generally view most (especially SA) Chardonnay as a wine on its knees, begging for wood. With the kind of access we have in this country to proper old-vine Chenin at cheap prices, unwooded Chardonnay isn’t even on my radar screen. But for many people, fashion will always trump sensibility.

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