With so many wines on the market, when I find one that truly speaks to my heart, I celebrate every drop. Needless to say, the day I met Vondeling Wines‘ Barrel Selection Chardonnay was an exceptionally memorable one.
I’m not sure what my fascination is with Chardonnay. When I don’t have it, I crave it. When I’ve had a long day and need to practice some self-care, I want a glass of Chardonnay. When I’m celebrating or happy, I can’t imagine not opening a bottle of Chardonnay to accompany the mood.
Maybe it’s the colour; that golden tropical hue fills me with joy. Maybe it’s the subtle layers of minerality or the pops of citrus in the finish. Maybe it’s the warming notes of spice and oak which feels like a warm embrace.
I guess it doesn’t matter why I love this particular varietal. What matters is that I rejoice in the finest our province has to offer.
Between the throes of lockdown, I was graciously sent a bottle of Vondeling Wines‘ Barrel Selection Chardonnay 2019 to celebrate what we thought was the end of the first alcohol ban. In that moment, life was particularly good.
Welcome to the Voor-Paardeberg; a Western Cape wine region that has all the charm of an undiscovered country landscape, yet is easily accessible, approximately 45 minutes’ drive from Cape Town.
Our vineyards run off the South-facing slopes of the Paardeberg Mountain. The decomposed granite soil, along with habitual afternoon South Westerly winds, give our wines a vibrancy in an otherwise warm climate area.
As a destination Vondeling includes an historic Cape Dutch homestead, a beautifully appointed tasting room as well as St Clement’s Chapel; a consecrated church and wedding venue.
There are breath taking views of mountains and vineyards in every direction. It’s a privilege to be able to view the surrounding landscape from the highest peak of the Paardeberg where you’ll find one the Cape’s original Signal Cannons, which was once used to communicate to farmers that a ship had arrived in Cape Town’s Table Bay Harbour (https://www.vondelingwines.co.za/about/).
Vondeling Barrel Selection Chardonnay 2019
Tasting notes: a refreshing nose of bright pear and peach blossoms with subtle lemon meringue and notes of freshly rolled oats. A full-bodied wine with great palate tension. Crisp apple and chalky citrus are infused with mild layers of Crème Brulée, spun sugar and floral potpourri. The flavours are vibrant, and the finish refined.
In the vineyard: 100% Chardonnay. This tiny, tree-lined vineyard is tucked away in the upper valley of our farm, protected from harsh sunlight and extreme temperatures, allowing the grapes to ripen slowly.
In the cellar: The wine is matured on its yeast lees for 7 months after which it is blended to tank, then returned to barrel for a further 4 months. The wine spends 11 months in barrel before being returned to tank for a gentle filtration and stabilisation before bottling.
Cellar door price: approx. R150 per bottle
One of the reasons I love Chardonnay (this much I know!), is that it’s a particularly food-friendly varietal. Bold enough to hold its own against more distinct flavour profiles, but delicate enough to harmonise, instead of overpower.
To celebrate my new-found love of Vondeling Wines’ Barrel Selection Chardonnay, I decided to go subtle; chicken roulade with a peppery salad. Chicken and Chardonnay are classically well acquianted, but the addition of pickled yellow peppers, herby feta and coriander pesto elevates this combination to simply delectable.
After simmering the stuffed roulades gently in a pot of water, I slowly pan-seared them to golden-brown deliciousness in olive oil and lime juice. Served with a rocket salad and lime vinaigrette on the side, I had a hundred reasons to celebrate.
The rest of the day I spent pouring over recipe books, feeling inspired by my lunch date with Vondeling Wines. It’s incredible how a taste and an experience combines into a fond memory. Even as I sit here writing this blog, I’m smiling as I remember the sound of the cork, the first glug into the glass, the floral aroma swirling around my nose and that first tilt skyward.
Thank you, Vondeling Wines, for inspiring with your premium wines, and for having shared your award-winning Chardonnay with me so generously!
Disclaimer: I was given this product(s) as part of a press drop in exchange for my honest and truthful opinion and review thereof. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are solely those of The Little Hedonist, given in good faith and in no way influenced by the company or its affiliates. All images, unless otherwise stated / credited, are also my own.
The Little Hedonist endorses responsible drinking.
Don’t drink and drive. Not for persons under 18.