Grand Vin Chardonnay – a taste of Burgundy
11 April 2016
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Welcome to Old Mutual Live Wine edition, on mobile, on digital and on demand and thanks for listening, I’m Jenny Crwys–Williams . It’s November and I’m still drinking sommelier Wikus Human’s lovely choice of wines for October. But now it’s time for sommelier Joakim Hansi Blackadder’s choice of wines for the month. Joakim was born in Sweden.
He did his wine training there before he relocated to South Africa and he has an almost embarrassing collection of awards which include the Best Wine List in Africa and the Middle East, that’s just for starters. Let’s get down to Joakim’s choice of weekend wine for the beginning of November.
Joakim Blackadder: Yes, I’m coming from overseas and I really love South African wines but I enjoy a style of South African wine that has its roots in the more old-world in terms of how vinified and how the wines behave. I chose a Chardonnay, which is a very proper grape variety, but from Glenelly in Stellenbosch. Their higher tier Chardonnay called Grand Vin Chardonnay from 2013.
It’s a Chardonnay that’s more for me like a wine from Burgundy which it’s sort of the home and the epicentre of good Chardonnay in the world. You get it in South Africa, the style of Glenelly has a similar kind of flavour profile and it’s a fabulous wine. It’s difficult to find, so if you can get hold of some 2013 still, I think you might be lucky up in Johannesburg, there’s nothing left of the 2013 style in Cape Town. But up there, there might still be some. It’s a stunning wine.
The notes you get from this wine
JCW: You say in the notes that you kindly sent me, it possesses richness from oak aging and lees contact with notes reminiscent of bitter almonds. Just take us through that a little bit.
JB: The wine, after its been picked and pressed, the wine goes in and it ferments in slightly larger oak barrels. A lot of them are seasoned, it’s not just young wood, but some of it is new. The oak helps the wine to build structure and texture. The wine, whilst it’s fermenting and maturing, after the fermentation in the oak barrels, it draws out both tannin and flavour and extract out of the oak. Which gives you the density and the viscosity in the wine.
The bitter almond aspect, it’s a flavour that often comes out of Chardonnay when it’s in combination with oak, but it normally just comes with a little bit of age. About half a year ago you didn’t really pick up bitter almonds, but now as the wine is evolving, it starts to come out. It’s quite a mouth-watering flavour profile, it’s a Moorish taste.
JCW: Would it go with fish?
JB: Yes, absolutely, that would probably be the optimal to have, a white fish with a more buttery sauce and a little bit more freshness on the plate. Maybe lemon, things like that to cut through that, that would work very nicely with the zestiness. The wine is rich, but it still has a brightness in the finish which just lifts the wine. You don’t want to have a dish that doesn’t have any freshness, you need that to balance the wine.
Fantastic with lobster
JCW: I have in mind a little rock lobster, something like that?
JB: That would be fantastic, if you can get that, that would be stunning. This wine is superbly suitable for pairing with food. When you have something like that, with a bit of saltiness, like rock lobster. What it does, it really lifts out the spiciness in the wine that comes from the wood. It softens the zestiness of the fruit and you get much more of that interest from the oak aging coming out.
JCW: And the wine again is the Glenelly Grand Vin Chardonnay 2013, if you can get it. I think it’s a good idea if you can spot a ’14 or a ’15, maybe to just grab them?
JB: Absolutely. The 2013 was just a stunning vintage, so if you manage to get that, fantastic, but otherwise the 2014 is also a delicious wine. They had a little bit more of a malolactic fermentation on the 2014, so it’s a little bit rounder and actually drinking better younger than what the 2013 did.
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