We all know we shoud squirrel away good barrel-fermented whites along with our reds, but we seldom do. Most of don’t keep our fine chardonnays for long enough, just until the next occasion that sees a luxurious seafood feast or a special poultry creation grace the table.
So it's good to know that Whalehaven decided to cellar their Conservation Coast chardonnay for us - leaving the 2014 vintage maturing for more than two years before releasing it. This premium wine was produced from a vineyard of 14-year-old vines in the famed UpperHemel-en-Aarde region, where Whalehaven is the third-olest winery in the area.
Co-owner Silvana Bottega released the wine recently, and its gorgeous golden hue is the first sign of its maturity, followed by tempting wafts of butterscotch on the nose. This is a rich, full-bodied chardonnay, with a firm mineral backbone, offering lightly toasted crumbs along with citrus flavours. With moderate alcohol levels, it makes an impressive appetiser but comes into its own with celebration fare, either shellfish, rich duck liver paté or complex Middle Eastern chicken dishes.
Bearing stickers from Tim Atkin who scored it 92 and approval from the current Sommeliers Selections results, expect to pay around R360.
The Conservation Coast range also boasts a 2014 Pinot Noir whch I have not tasted.
To find out more about these wines, visit www.whalehaven.co.za