Neetlingshof Unwooded Chardonnay 2016

South Africa, specifically Stellenbosch, is the birthplace of this wild number.

I say wild, thinking of wildlife, wild weather and wild scenery, but that might be too much of a stereotype to be of use. Southern hemisphere wine as a distinction separating it from Old World, and that is simply that there’s less land in the south, therefore more sea, and that means…well it means something.

A pale green with gold reflections shows a medium plus body. The nose tells of medium plus alcohol, strong citrus and milder harvest fruit aromas. Green apple. Lemon juice, but in that mild way chardonnay has, not in that sauvignon blanc mode. Can we call it tart lemon curd? Let’s.

As well there’s a mild white flower note; gardenia, perhaps? Something quite dense but not cloying, it’s very pleasant.

The palate is really nice, a plush, full mouthfeel, especially interesting because we have only the fruit and fermentation as inputs here; no lumber to woodify matters.

Acids are consistent throughout, providing an adult finish with satisfying tartness. No woolly ending here. What’s fascinating is how different this glass is from my Chilean friends. The same type of grape gives us strikingly different wine.