8 winning Winter whites

Cathy chooses some of her favourite white wines of the moment.

by: Cathy Marston | 14 Apr 2011

I promised to tell all about the best bottles to come my way in recent weeks, so, following on from my red-round-up of last week, here are my white-winners of this week. All these were kindly donated to the cause of ‘Kill Cathy’s Liver Stone-dead’, but all of them I would be more than happy to pay for the next bottle to order to finish off the job properly!

Mont Rochelle Sauvignon Reserve 2010    R60 cellar door
I tasted an impromptu sample of this almost a year ago when Dustin Osborne, winemaker at Mont Rochelle was enthusing in his barrel cellar about his upcoming projects. This contains some Semillon and also a small portion of the 2009 Sauvignon which has been ageing in barrels for a year. It’s got all the normal Sauvignon flavours you’d expect but delivers a hell of a lot more than you paid for in terms of mouthfeel and fruit intensity. I really like this wine – highly recommend it.

Kleine Zalze Vineyard Selection Chenin Blanc 2010    R62 cellar door
Is there any year that Kleine Zalze don’t produce good chenins? I think not and yet again, this is a stellar wine at a ridiculously good price. This comes from bushvines in the Helderburg and spent about five months in oak, only 20% of it new,which makes for a creamy wine as opposed to a spicy oaky one. Delicious with all kinds of food.

Hartenberg Sauvignon 2010    R67 cellar door
Lovely new clean labels make this often-overlooked gem stand out on the shelves. I’ve always liked this wine simply because it’s not showy or snazzy but it offers crisp, grassy flavours and aromas without being overpoweringly acidic. This particular version leans towards the tropical and went down really well with some sushi.

JC le Roux Brut MCC    R68 from leading retailers
I was sad to miss the launch of this wine, but very pleased when they sent me some anyway! Up until now the JC range has mainly consisted of single cultivar or vintage wines so this NV Brut is a welcome break from tradition. Still made from the expected varieties (mainly Pinot Noir with some Chardonnay) this is an excellent value drinking MCC with plenty of froth, nice yeast autolysis and a good length. But I am sorry to say – I HATE the look of the bottle. Sorry. But I do.

Oldenburg Chardonnay 2010     R118 from the cellar

This is the partner wine for the Cabernet Franc I recommended last week. Simon Thompson is making very interesting stuff up in the Helshoogte Pass with elegant use of oak and lots of fruit being the watchwords. This is no exception, 50% new oak barrels used for fermentation and then blended to make for a smooth, rounded, spicy mouthful of yellow and tropical fruit. Nice.

Muratie Laurens Campher 2010     R125 from leading retailers
This is the new flagship white blend at Muratie and is named in honour of the founder of the farm. Made from mainly Chenin and Sauvignon with a hefty dollop of Verdelho and a tweak of Chardonnay, it is a rich and complex wine with limey acidity and an endless finish. It was fabulous with a simple fish dish, but would probably stand up to a mild chicken curry as well.

Bouchard Finlayson Kaaimansgat 2010    R150 from leading retailers
Translating as ‘Crocodile’s Lair’, this has been one of the Cape’s top Chardonnays for many years now. I always feel this is the perfect example of balance with the 50-50 wooded-unwooded combination offsetting the rich citrus fruit and the fresh limey acidity. Not an everyday wine price-wise but honestly, this is as good as it gets in Chardonnay terms.

Waterkloof Circle of Life White 2010    R140 cellar door
This is the second release of Waterkloof’s top blend and I must say, it really does continue to delight and inspire. This version has more Chenin in it, I fancy, and is a little richer and warmer than the maiden release. It’s really very classy stuff with green, lean, vegetal hints mellowed by soft yellow fruit and enlivened by spritzy acidity. Worth the money, honestly.

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