Bottle Rocket: Here’s why Rustenberg 2012 Stellenbosch chardonnay, from Indigo Wine Group, is worth seeking out
I’m a huge fan of the Indigo Wine Group, which imports some of South Africa’s best wines to Texas. So when I learned that one of their winemakers, Murray Barlow, had won the Diner’s Club South African Young Winemaker of the Year 2013 trophy for his Rustenberg 2012 Stellenbosch chardonnay, I knew this would be a wine worth checking out.
The award honors the best ‘dry, unfortified white wine’ made by an individual winemaker age thirty and under. Barlow, 26, is the third generation of Barlows to run the Rustenberg estate, which has been in the family for seventy-two years. His 2012 Stellenbosch chardonnaybeat out more than fifty entrants from across the Cape.
The wine is made with 100 percent chardonnay grapes grown in the Simonsberg Mountain valley of Stellenbosch, which many would argue is South Africa’s best-known and most highly regarded wine region. The grapes are selectively hand-picked and whole-cluster pressed, fermented in the barrel with wild yeast and aged 12 months in 25% new French oak barrels.
If you’re looking for a creamy, soft chardonnay whose apricot and orange peel and a bit of vanilla and marzipan would brighten an early spring dinner of roasted chicken or country ham, this is one to try. Great value, too: about $22.