Thelema Sutherland Chardonnay, Elgin, South Africa 2015

Thelema Sutherland Chardonnay.jpg
Thelema Sutherland Chardonnay.jpg

Thelema Sutherland Chardonnay, Elgin, South Africa 2015


The one thing no one seems to be able to reach a consensus on in Elgin is how to pronounce it. Locals say it with a soft 'g', as in 'engine', which is enough to make me lose my marbles. Geddit!? I'll show myself out. The one thing that everyone seems to be able to reach a consensus on, however, is that Elgin is the pre-eminent ward for white wine production in South Africa. Higher up than Stellenbosch and closer to the Ocean, it benefits from cooler conditions that bring out the best in white grape varieties.

The other advantage of Elgin, as far as wine consumers are concerned, is that its fame has yet to spread as far and wide as Stellenbosch, so its producers have to work harder to get noticed and part of that equation filters into the price. Here's a fantastic example of a barrel-fermented and barrel-aged Chardonnay that would probably be 50% more expensive if it said Stellenbosch on the label. Its ultra-fine fruit is a tribute to the cooler, elevated climate and the way it integrates the oak is a lesson for all those wannabe icon Chardonnays that paint the oak on as if creosoting a fence. An absolute bargain. Screwcap. 13.5% alc. Drink now-2021.

Press Reviews:

Rated 'Outstanding' by Decanter Magazine, 96/100 points

Tim Atkin MW (Decanter Magazine): 
"An alluring meaty, aromatic, reductive nose - complex stuff. It is dense, smoky and mineral, as well as long and savoury with tangy acidity. This has lovely focus and a fine, tapering finish. Very classy!" 96 points

John Hoskins MW (Decanter Magazine): "Struck match complexity comes through to the fore; it is modern and very expressive. A truly fine Chardonnay. Spice and tightly wound richness combines with excellent freshness underpinning the whole. How can this be under £13?! This is where South Africa rules the roost - exceptional, unbeatable value in the mid-price tier. " 96 points

Greg Sherwood MW (Decanter Magazine): "It is hard to deny the complex nose of struck match reduction on this wine, which mingles with green pears and dusty granitic minerality. Lean and austere, just like a young premier cry Burgundy: super linear with rapier acidity. Serious stuff - I love it." 95 points

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