Elgin Chardonnay Colloquium: tasting 16 Chardonnays from 2016


This weekend is the second instalment of the Elgin Chardonnay Colloquium, and as part of yesterday’s proceedings, we tried 16 different wines from the 2016 vintage. This is a warmer, drier vintage than 2015, with slightly uneven fruit set. But despite this, the results were pretty good, as these wines showed. Elgin Chardonnay is in a good place right now.
Julien Schaal Evidence Chardonnay 2016 Elgin, South Africa
Really vivid and a bit pithy with nice acidity and a spicy edge to the keen lemon and pear fruit. Really good acidity and focus. Some spicy, mealy notes here. Lovely vivid wine. 94/100

Paul Cluver Estate Chardonnay 2016 Elgin, South Africa
There’s a lovely purity and freshness to this wine. Linear with nice pear and citrus fruit. Has a subtle creaminess with lovely purity. A very pretty wine. 92/100

Oak Valley Groenlandberg Chardonnay 2016 Elgin, South Africa
This is quite elegant and open with nice texture to the sweet pear and white peach fruit. Shows lovely acidity that integrates well into the wine. Very textural and quite smooth. 92/100

South Hill King of the Hill Chardonnay 2016 Elgin, South Africa
This is pretty and fruity with nice light lemon and tangerine fruit, with a supple, open, fruity personality. Nicely balanced with clean fruit at its core. 91/100


Paul Wallace Chardonnay 2016 Elgin, South Africa
Powerful, mealy and spicy with nice ripe pear and white peach fruit and some savoury spiciness. Has good weight. 89/100

Highlands Road Chardonnay 2016 Elgin, South Africa
Nice weight and focus here. Has lively grapefruit and lemon characters with good acidity and textural pear and citrus fruit on the palate. Nice weight with a spicy finish. 91/100

Hannay Chardonnay 2016 Elgin, South Africa
There’s a lot of richness here: this has bold, lively pear and peach fruit with some nuts and spice. Really dense with lots of weight and spiciness. Distinctive stuff with quite a strong oak imprint and ripe fruit. 91/100

Neil Ellis Whitehall Chardonnay 2016 Elgin, South Africa
Really fresh, taut and brisk with keen lemony acidity. Has lots of richness, but it’s nicely focused. Full flavoured yet taut, spicy and intense. Covers all aspects of the flavour spectrum. 93/100


Iona Chardonnay 2016 Elgin, South Africa
There’s a subtle green herby edge to this wine, which shows taut citrussy fruit. Lovely brightness and purity with a linear personality. Compact with lots of potential, but a little subdued. 91/100

Almenkerk Chardonnay 2016 Elgin, South Africa
This has lovely purity, showing linear, direct lemon and pear fruit with very fine toasty notes. Really good acidity. This is primary and taut with lots of potential for development. Peachy richness hides in the background. 92/100

Sutherland Chardonnay 2016 Elgin, South Africa
Beautifully focused with keen lemony fruit. Very intense with brisk acidity and some taut spicy, nutty notes, and a bit of mealy, toasty richness under the focused fruit. Very bright and lemony with lovely freshness. Really attractive stuff. 93/100

Boschendal Chardonnay 2016 Elgin, South Africa
Lovely bright tangerine and pear fruit here: this has lots of pure fruit, with a lovely texture and some grapefruit freshness on the finish. Lovely weight here. Approachable and fruity but with more than a hint of seriousness. 92/100


Kershaw Elgin Clonal Selection Chardonnay 2016 Elgin, South Africa
There’s a real richness to this wine, but it’s also fresh. Lively and pure with seamless integration of spicy oak, some brisk lemony fruit and also a bit ripe pear and apple, too. Juicy acidity on the finish. Very fine. 94/100

Lothian Chardonnay 2016 Elgin, South Africa
Great purity, freshness and concentration here. Linear with some fine spicy notes sitting under the fruit. Has really nice oak integration and ripe pear and apple fruit. Beautiful freshness. Very appealing. 92/100

Elgin Ridge 282 Chardonnay 2016 Elgin, South Africa
Unusual with a slightly cedary, nutty edge to the lemon and pear fruit. Savoury, nutty and spicy. The oak isn’t yet integrated. There’s an appley edge here. Needs time to find its feet. 89/100

Elgin Vintners Chardonnay 2016 Elgin, South Africa
Very citrussy with tangerine and lemon notes. Lively and fresh with bright lemony acidity. Fruit-driven and a bit simple, but attractive and fresh. Some apple and cabbage hints here. 89/100

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