2012 Glenelly "Grand Vin" Chardonnay Stellenbosch South Africa

SKU #1134970 92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Bright, pale yellow. Knockout nose combines stone fruits, nutmeg, marzipan, almond butter and dusty herbs. Supple, layered and deep, but with sneaky acidity intensifying the flavors of green melon, musky citrus fruits and brown spices. Finishes firm and long, with lovely lingering perfume. This impeccably balanced wine looks to be the best chardonnay release to date from Glenelly.

90 points Wine Spectator

 A solid, focused style, showing a light toast shading to the core of pear, yellow apple and melon flavors. Features a lingering brioche note, with good length on the finish. Drink now. 1,000 cases imported. ĖJM

K&L Notes

When the indefatigable May-Elaine de Lencquesaing purchased the 128-hectare Glenelly Estate in 2003, a new chapter opened up for her upon the slopes of the Simonsberg Mountain. The following year, 60 hectares of red and 5 hectares of white grape varieties were planted. With the vines establishing in the meantime, it was not until 2009 that the state-of-the-art winery became operational. The first release was a Cape Blend from imported grapes and, to be honest, I remember the quality not being up to standard. However, the appointment of Luke OíCuinneagain, who had worked at Chateau Angelus, Screaming Eagle and Rustenberg, plus the consultancy of Adi Badenhorst has had an immediate impact, and I was very impressed by these wines. She will be giving her old Deuxieme Cru a run for its money soon (and letís not even think about comparing prices!)

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Price: $19.99

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Varietal:

Chardonnay

- It's hard to believe that up until about 30 years ago, this extremely popular varietal hid behind the veil of geographical names like Chablis and Puligny-Montrachet. Now grown all over the world and bottled by its varietal name, Chardonnay has achieved a level of branding unlike any other wine. Surprisingly, though, what you get when you buy Chardonnay can differ greatly from country to country and even within one country, depending on the climate where it's grown and how it is vinified and aged. From fresh, crisp and minerally with apple and lemon notes to rich and buttery with tropical fruit overtones, Chardonnay runs the gamut. In France's Burgundy, Chardonnay is the source of the prized wines of Chablis, Corton-Charlemagne, M‚con, Meursault and Montrachet. It also the foundation of exceptional Champagne, where it is blended with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier or vinified on its own into Blanc de Blancs. It is also extremely popular in California, and is gaining popularity in Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain and South Africa.
Country:

South Africa

- Now that it has adopted a multi-racial attitude, and now that the world has embraced its government and its exports, South Africa has become a major wine producer. Unfortunately, South Africa has had a difficult time joining the ranks of competitive winemaking countries. During the anti-apartheid sanctions in the 1980s, South African wine was dealt the huge blow when it was removed from the international market, and for political reasons it was quite difficult for wine producers to market wine to the black majority. Things are finally looking up for the wine industry here, and quality has never been higher. South Africa produces a grape cloned from Pinot Noir and Cinsault, called Pinotage, which is the country's unique varietal. Chenin Blanc (known as Steen) makes up one-third of its vines. Cabernet, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Shiraz are becoming increasingly popular as are Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Click for a list of bestselling items from South Africa.