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It’s not just the turreted fortress design of Fort Simon’s tasting centre that differs from the traditional Stellenbosch wine farm architecture, but also the fact that the Uys family-owned winery only started producing in 1997, making them one of the “newbies” in the Bottelary district.

Their philosophy is to produce enjoyable well-made New World-style wines, and their 2018 Chardonnay is a good example of success in achieving this goal. Recently released, the estate is pleased that it attracted a score of 90 in the current Gilbert & Gaillard international sommelier contest, a challenge held in France for more than two decades. The wines are tasted blind and results featured in their wine guides - of which more than 50 editions have been published in four languages to date..

Winemaker Dirk Tredoux leans toward making “bold and luscious" wines. Using their best chardonnay berries he fermented them in oak then transferred the wine to new French oak where it matured for some 10 months before being bottled.

 

Although it is apparent that the wine is wooded, it does not follow the pattern of  over-wooded chardonnays common in the USA until recently.

While the vanilla aroma is discernible on the nose as is the flavour on the palate it shares  with wafts of citrus and melon. Flavours of citrus and butterscotch mingle on the palate, the wine is medium-bodied, fresh and uncomplicated, making an enjoyable al fresco aperitif and partnering poultry and seafood – both hot and salad creations – and creamy sauced pasta with flair.

Alcohol levels are held at 14%. The chardonnay costs R132 at cellar door.