Haute Cabriere Chardonnay / Pinot Noir 2013 (Franschhoek, South Africa)
I’m convinced that something happens to me when I taste wines at the winery where they’ve been made, or even worse, when sitting amongst the vines that have produced the grapes themselves. Wines that perhaps might be fairly run of the mill can sometimes seem much better. There you are sitting in the sun, with an incredible view and more often that not chatting with the winemaker themselves. It all adds up to the perfect condition for rose tinted tastebuds….
In November 2012 I found myself (on honeymoon) having a meal at Haute Cabrierre in Franschhoek and trying an earlier vintage of their still Chardonnay / Pinot Noir blend. It’s obviously not unusual to find these two grapes combined in a sparkling wine but it’s not that often it happens in a still wine. I really enjoyed it but wondered if the meal, the shiny new wife and the incredible views were coming into play.
I’ve not had the wine since last Friday when I stopped by the Wine Press in Stourbridge. Gone were the rolling mountains and idyllic climate and the wife was no longer new, so would the wine still impress? If ever there were ideal laboratory conditions these were surely them….
Happily, the wine did still impress. Quite a lot actually. I love that it’s just a bit different. The wine itself is approaching a rusty colour, it’s not quite pink enough to be “blush”. On the palate the best bits of Chardonnay express themselves well with a slight creaminess and minerality. Crucially though the Pinot adds a slight sweetness and fruitiness to really give the wine a pleasing finish.
So there you have it, a wine that drinks well on honeymoon or just at home in the West Midlands. How’s that for versatility?…..
Available for £10.99 from The Wine Press in Stourbridge, West Midlands.