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95pt Warwick Estate White Lady Chardonnay 2016

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Warwick Estate's Chardonnay vineyards are amongst the oldest in South Africa, having been planted in 1991 when Chardonnay was all but illegal and wine growers smuggled in cuttings from California and Burgundy!

Thank God Warwick got away with it though, as since then they have firmly established themselves as one of South Africa's best wine estates, producing some of the region's top white (and red) wines.

In recent years, under the guidance of innovative and passionate owner Mike Ratcliffe, they have reached even greater heights, producing wines of a world-class standard and in particular some of South Africa's greatest Chardonnay.

2016 is no exception and this vintage's White Lady Chardonnay is the latest in a long line of successes. Wild-fermented and aged on its lees in French oak barrels, it has the texture and rich mouthfeel of fine white Burgundy, but with flashes of tropical fruit that speak to its New World orgins.

A complex, delectable white, the White Lady is drinking beautifully right now but should age nicely for the next few years!

About the wine

With 2016 being a drier vintage, the resulting wine is concentrated with a medium, fresh acidity and rich mouthfeel. The nose has layers of flowers, minerals and stones, with loads of white nectarine fruit interspersed with some tropical notes of pineapple and a honeyed nuttiness. The palate is silky yet austere, with a round finish that gives its personality and a clean and long lemon flavoured finish. It shows the epitome of balance with delicate flavours that keep emerging throughout its exceedingly persistent finish.

This Chardonnay is drinking now but will continue to develop secondary, aged flavours of vanilla beans, honey, anise and honeysuckle for up to 10 years - if you can wait that long!

The grapes were picked by hand at sunrise while icy cold and transported to the cellar for whole bunch pressing. A whole-bunch press was used to limit phenolics and to extract only the best quality juice. The juice was coldsettled for one day at 10 degrees and then racked to barrel with some fine lees. The barrels were left to start wild fermentation (where no yeast is added, only the natural yeast is used) and fermentation lasted for 6 months.

Some of the barrels went through malolactic fermentation, about 25%. The barrels were regularly stirred up near the end of fermentation to build body in the wine. Once the wine had  fermented to dryness the barrels were sulfured and rolled once a week to stir up the lees. After 10 months in barrels (1/3rd new oak, 1/3rd second fill and 1/3rd third fill), the wine was racked, fined and given a light filtration before bottling.

Appellation: Stellenbosch, South Africa

- 95pts, Platter's Wine Guide
- 92pts, Tim Atkin
- 4.1/5 Stars, Vivino Rating

Grapes: 100% Chardonnay
Vineyard: Warwick Estate's vineyards
Cooperage: 10 months in oak barrels
ABV: 13.5%
Drink: 2018-2026

About the winery

Warwick Estate is a family-owned and run winery. Managing Director Michael Ratcliffe is the 3rd generation family member to oversee this high quality boutique operation.

From 1771 till 1902, Warwick was known as the farm ‘De Goede Sukses’. After the Anglo Boer war ended in 1902, Colonel William Alexander Gordon, Commanding Officer of the Warwickshire regiment bought the historic farm. He renamed it ‘Warwick’ as a tribute to his regiment.

Stan Ratcliffe purchased Warwick on April 1st 1964 after an extensive search for the best ‘terroir’ in the Cape. Together with his wife Norma, they soon realized the potential of the extraordinary property and began planting Cabernet Sauvignon. The Cabernet Sauvignon vines produced high quality grapes, which were soon in demand from neighbouring wineries. Norma became more and more interested in the making of wine and began to study the subject. Soon a cellar was built, more vines were planted and the estate has never looked back.

About the vineyard

This White Lady incorporates Warwick’s Block 18 which is NW facing, 24-26 years old and first planted in 1991. There are two vineyards from the Helderberg, both west facing with one planted on a block known as “Koffie Klip” and the other on cooler, higher-lying block on sandy loam.




95 Points - Greg Mutambe
Smooth & engaging 2016 chardonnay follows less refined 2015 . Luxurious & rich fruit profile, lavish oak, all enlivened by fresh acidity, seam minerality from 2 mature vineyard sites."


92 Points - Tim Atkin
"Warwick’s naturally fermented Chardonnay comes from a number of sites in Stellenbosch. Rich and quite oaky, with stone fruit sweetness underpinned by acidity" 


"Lemon and lime, buttery, complex, well wooded. Full bodied, buttery, citrus fruit, long complex aftertaste" 4.5/5 Stars

"Very nice chardonnay with woody, buttery and nutty flavours. Pleasant finish" 4/5 Stars

"While not a chardonnay fan, this is delightful. Very rich, nutty flavor, short finish" 4/5 Stars


Other Details

World-class Chardonnay from South Africa - the "luxurious & rich" White Lady 2016
95pt world-class Chardonnay from one of South Africa's oldest vineyards
"Smooth & engaging...Luxurious & rich fruit profile, lavish oak, all enlivened by fresh acidity" Platter's Wine Guide
"Rich and quite oaky, with stone fruit sweetness underpinned by acidity" Tim Atkin
Warwick Estate's Chardonnay vineyards are amongst the oldest in South Africa, having been planted in 1991 when Chardonnay was all but illegal and wine growers smuggled in cuttings from California and Burgundy! In recent years, under the guidance of i
2017-01-13 23:59:59
#review=Tim Atkin:
#stars_review=Vivino Rating:
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