Wednesday, 18 June 2014

A South African Tasting with Gary Jordan

The other week saw the wine world descend on London's Kensington Olympia exhibition hall for the London Wine Fair, bringing together producers and agencies both large and small showing off their wares and trying to extend their current reach. While spending the day tasting several great wines/producers, many good producers and bulk producers whose wine is likely to and up on supermarket shelves on some half price offer, which is all it's worth to start with, their is one producer who stuck in my mind the whole day, and that is Jordan from Stellenbosch in South Africa.

The 146 hectare Stellenbosch property was bought in 1982 by Ted and Sheelagh Jordan who embarked on extensive replanting, selecting varieties suited to. Then their son Gary and his wife Kathy returned to the estate in 1992 to build a new cellar, and since 1993 have been producing world class wines.

They have a comprehensive range producing single varietals from Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and several blends to round of the range, and I have to say it's pretty hard to find a poor wine. For the moment though I want to look at their Chardonnays, but I definitely would recommend anything from their range, the reds are as fantastic as the whites.

2013 Unoaked Chardonnay

The fruit for this wine comes from vines that are 28 years old which gives the fruit much more depth of flavour to start with. It is all Stainless Steel fermented and kept on the Lees for 4 months to help develop the leesy characteristic.

In the glass you had the wonderfully bright pale lemony/green colour, with aromas of tropical fruit, citrus and some delicate floral hints coming through. On the palate these all shone through with the citrus coming through as lime and the floral characteristic being elderflower, along with this you got a lovely racy acidity which just made your water and helped the flavours linger around in your mouth. I have to say one of the best unoaked Chardonnays I've tasted for a while.

2013 Chardonnay

The fruit for this wine comes from vines that are between 11 - 28 years old, which are situated on the cooler east and south facing slopes. It's then fermented 228 litre French oak barrels (51% new and 49% second fill) and where it stays for another 9 months on the lees which occasional rolling of the barrels to accentuate the leesy character. They then blend in around 8% of tank fermented Chardonnay to help balance the citrus flavours, and both wines allowed to go through Malolactic Fermentation to soften the acidity.

In the glass it had a beautiful golden colour to it, with aromas of citrus, green fruit, sweet spice and a toasty/buttery character coming through. You got these flavours coming through, with the toasty oak being quite dominant but not overpowering. It has quite a rich/creamy mouth feel and a soft, but plentiful acidity which all worked perfectly in balance with one another, this will also develop over the coming months getting richer and creamier. I'm not usually a fan of rich, oakey Chardonnays, but this is definitely one that I would happily buy and drink.

 2013 Nine Yards Chardonnay

This wine is produced in the same fashion as the oaked Chardonnay, except the the fruit comes from a 23 year old specific vineyard and it aged in barrel for 13 months not 9, a small proportion is also allowed to go through natural fermentation helping to give it different characteristics to oaked Chardonnay.

This wine had a slightly richer golden colour to it, with wonderful aromas of Citrus, Butterscotch and a touch of spice coming through. These all came through on the palate with the citrus and butterscotch coming beautifully, while coming through there was a touch of stone fruit, it had a wonderfully rich mouth feel and a soft acidity to it. While this is still young and wasn't very forthcoming with the aromas and flavours, give this 12 - 18 months so everything can integrate together and this is just going to be a big, rich, opulent and a stunning wine.

I just want to say a massive thanks to Gary for taking the time to go through his wines with us, and would definitely advise you giving his wines a try, whether you go for the whites or his reds, your not gonna go far wrong with them.

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