When you hear ‘Chardonnay’, do you immediately think ‘big, round and oaked to the hilt’? If so, you are not alone. Chardonnay is often thought of as being mainly rich and buttery, but, in fact, this white grape variety is a near-blank canvas capable of being produced in a plethora of styles that range from creamy and wooded, to bright and lean.
Take our Hazendal Chardonnay 2018, for instance. This lovely lemon-coloured vintage is medium-bodied with a refreshing acidity, and a fine, yet creamy texture that leads to a clean finish. The nose itself is complex, yet subtle and refined, with nuances of pineapple, Cape gooseberry and apricot that are supported by subtle hints of buttery brioche, almond and honey. Much yum.
The terroir that shapes our Chardonnay
The reason we are able to make such great Chardonnay lies in our intricate array of micro-climates that typify the Bottelary Hills, from where we source our grapes.
This area is incredibly diverse in terms of terroir. From one part of the region to the next you'll encounter a wide variety of slopes, aspects, elevations above sea level, soils, and the influence of both the False Bay ocean to the south, and the cold Atlantic in the west.
The soils are also super interesting. The Bottelary area forms part of a series of granitic hills and the acidic soils here are well-drained, with great water retention capabilities. If you want to get technical about it, the soil types are Oakleaf, Tukulu, Hutton and Clovelly.
The short of the long is that these soils are fantastic for growing grapes, especially Chardonnay, which originated in the Burgundy wine region of eastern France and is now the most popular white wine varietal around the globe.
The key to finding a beautiful balance
Interestingly, our winemaker Clarise Sciocatti-Langeveldt chooses to ferment a portion of each block of Chardonnay grapes in stainless steel, and the other in 500L French Oak barrels. The wine from each block is kept completely kept separate during the vinification and ageing process, with final blending taking place just before bottling.
This gives Clarise the ability to blend the wine to perfection to find that great balance that makes a beautifully integrated vintage. Once she did so, 100% of the wine was aged in 500L French Oak barrels (50% of which was new oak).
What should I serve with Hazendal Estate Chardonnay?
So now that you know what it tastes like, and how our Chardonnay is made, let’s get down to brass tacks - what should you be serving it with?
Well, the great thing about our Chardonnay is that it’s incredibly versatile. So, while you may perhaps have heard that white wine should only be served with white meat and fish, our 2018 vintage will actually complement a whole variety of different dishes to great effect.
Here are five pairings we suggest you try:
- Harvest Salad Bowl
A lovely harvest salad bowl of mixed lettuce and fresh herbs, layered with pickled beetroot, nutty quinoa, a delicate turmeric-infused granola, honey-roasted carrots with cumin, rounded off with the tart sweetness of dried cranberries and the creaminess of labneh really pulls the flavour profile of the Chardonnay into focus.
- Butter Chicken
Tender, flavour-infused chicken in a creamy marinade of ginger, garlic, lemon juice and spices like turmeric, garam masala, chilli powder and cumin make a beautiful backdrop for our Chardonnay. Serve it with steamed basmati rice, roast butternut and warm roti for extra texture and deliciousness.
- Truffle Mushroom Tagliatelle
A creamy pasta is always magical with a Chardonnay. Try a deeply flavoured truffle mushroom tagliatelle with sautéed peas, spinach and mixed mushrooms to see how wonderfully it pairs.
- Pickled Herring On Pumpernickel
Fish is another classic Chardonnay pairing, but we like to suggest something a little off the beaten track. Instead of a piece of baked or grilled fish, try it with an open-faced sandwich of pickled herring on pumpernickel topped with sour cream, beetroot, dill cucumber and boiled egg.
- Waffle & All The Trimmings
Why yes, Chardonnay can totally go with a decadent dessert as well! Try it alongside a freshly baked waffle, with smooth vanilla ice cream, decadent fudge, caramel popcorn for crunch and lashings of chocolate sauce for that extra bit of wow.
TOP TIP: If you feel like trying one or more of these lovely pairings with our Hazendal Estate Chardonnay, but don’t feel like doing any washing up, you can enjoy it at the Babushka Deli on the Estate. See our dinner menu for more.
Oh, and if food-and-wine pairings are your thing, we highly recommend that you check out our Sensory Experience while you’re at it...