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label Buitenverwachting (South Africa) Chardonnay 1998
A rare excursion above the 8.00 barrier for this week's wine, but I couldn't resist it. The organic Constantia estate of Buitenverwachting may verge on the unpronounceable, but don't let that stop you trying a bottle if you enjoy Chardonnay that can carriy a weight of French oak effortlessly through gorgeously ripe and pure fruit and fine balance. Harley-Davidson riding winemaker Hermann Kirschbaum uses barrel fermentation and ageing which endows this with a glowing golden colour and heavenly nose of honey, butterscotch, lemon and oatmeal. On the palate it is richly-textured and floods the mouth with ripe, spiced-apple fruit, cream and ground almonds, whilst a steely backbone of lemon and lime gives definition and length. A toasty, spicy layering is very classy and the finish is wonderfully pure and long. An elegant and very sophisticated wine, and worth every penny.
UK stockist: Oddbins 8.99