In fitting with my resolution to write more, I've decided to write up every wine we taste on Friday afternoon here at Westbury (we do blind tastings every Friday). Our office is in Clapham Junction, so Philglas + Swiggot and Soif are regular haunts for interesting bottles - both have exceptional lists and we are really spoilt to have them here (thanks guys).
Today's choice is Palmiet, by Johan Meyer, from Elgin, South Africa. I picked it for two reasons:
1) my close friend Immi Taylor is leaving me next week (sob) to do harvest there, which is bloody exciting and I am so jealous. I will be visiting her in March
2) I think it is one of the best value Chardonnays available, and actually, I challenge you to find a better one for this price.
The wine is from Elgin, one of the coolest vinegrowing areas of South Africa. It has a high altitude of 5-700m with more cloud cover and rainfall than other regions. The vineyard is farmed organically and the wine, in Meyer style, is made with minimal intervention.
Only free run juice is used and fermentation is natural. Old 500L French oak barrels are used and 1/3 of the grapes are whole bunch fermented for eight days and pressed into fourth fill 500L barrels. Ageing takes place for ten months. Oxidation occurs in some barrels to add to complexity.
NOTES: Fresh raw cashew nose with a distinct but subtle herbal oil character with yellow grapefruit pith. On the palate it is immensely saline with a dense, crunchy texture. Nice lime-y palate with intense minerality. Very similar in style to some top Burgundies with that struck match nose, but perhaps a little harsher, a little wilder in spirit. It is so, so good. An absolutely delicious wine and I challenge you to find me a better Chardonnay at this price.
A proper terroir wine, from properly tended vineyards, treated properly. It's wines and guys like these that make wine the most exciting tangible product of our Earth. Thanks Johan for making this!