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The report aims to celebrate the top-end of what Eedes has described as ‘the wine with a universal following – arguably the best dry white wine in the world’. “After four years, the question has to be asked: ‘Are we any closer to mapping South Africa’s best terroir for Chardonnay?’,” is a key point of debate in the report. Traditionally, the Elgin district and the wards of Hemel-en-Aarde are well-known for being Chardonnay country so Stellenbosch’s dominance this year was an interesting development.

A total of 60 wines were tasted and judged by a panel led by Christian Eedes and including renowned tasters Roland Peens and James Pietersen from Wine Cellar.

The Chardonnay Report also aims to establish a recognised benchmark for the fourth most planted white variety in South Africa. Four of the producers with wines in this year’s top 10 have achieved success consistently – Uva Mira, Hartenberg, Haskell Anvil and Paul Cluver – indicating that a benchmark is now being set by these leading producers.

South Africa’s best Chardonnays are world class, as international commentators – from eRobertParker.com’s Neal Martin to Tim Atkin – are now recognising. For a long time, the varietal has been sold at a discount and to some extent still is. However, this is now likely to change.

Daniël Kriel, CEO of Sanlam Private Wealth, says he is delighted to have once again partnered with Christian Eedes in the compiling of this year’s Chardonnay Report. He congratulated this year’s Top 10 Chardonnay winemakers. “The quality we are now witnessing is outstanding – the top wines were truly a delight to taste.”

Kriel said from an investment point of view, Sanlam Private Wealth was seeing a growing confidence in ‘passion’ investments such as fine wine. “With traditional markets continuing to be volatile, passion investments yield great long-term returns and allow investors the opportunity to invest in something they care about. It’s an investment that can be enjoyed not only for its returns, but also for its ability to allow the investor to become a part of something that they have always wanted to do, but don’t necessarily have the time for,” he said.

The Christian Eedes Top Ten Chardonnay wines for 2014 are:


Five stars

  1. Hartenberg The Eleanor 2012
  2. Uva Mira 2013

Four and a half stars

  1. Chamonix Reserve 2013
  2. Eikendal 2013
  3. Grand Vin de Glenelly 2013
  4. Haskell Anvil 2012
  5. Longridge 2013
  6. Newton Johnson Southend 2013
  7. Paul Cluver 2013
  8. Stellenrust Barrel Fermented 2013

For further information, or to download the full report, visit http://sanlamprivatewealth.sanlam.com or www.winemag.co.za.

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