Spier Chardonnay 2016

Being on an African jag is proving to be a tasty delight.

Here’s something from Stellenbosch (which should mean something) from a producer with some number of centuries making the stuff (which presumably means something else.)

The story goes that after 1994, the marking the end of apartheid, South African vignerons discovered a world outside. Pinotage is all fine and everything, but all those thirsty punters out there with hard currency and a jones for something new and interesting awaited. So the modern Springbok vigneron was born.

All credit to them. These folks collectively made a lot of smart decisions, not least amongst them planting the right grapes, winemaking in the right styles and finding a niche pricewise too. As well, they understood the marketing subtlety of going green (whatever that means) staying sustainable (ditto) and not completely ditching their history. This is just another chapter.

Just as this wine is another page. Classic lightly-oaked chardonnay is what we have here. Fruits from the tropical end of the range, including that somewhat elusive banana note of which I’ve heard much but never experienced. It’s a big, fattish aroma, almost like a candied or dried banana, which whatever molecule that is balanced nicely by cut pineapple and back of the mouth jazz. All very interesting.

Texture. That’s the word. There’s a kind of starchy feel to this wine, which is altogether distinctive and completely beguiling. Like a lychee, or even durian without the aroma. The finish has a deceptive minerality too, a tip of the hat to the old world, perhaps, or just a view of things to come from the new.