Wine of the Week Whalehaven Seascape Reserve Chardonnay 2020

Winona Griggs

Wine of the Week 17: Whalehaven Seascape Reserve Chardonnay 2020

Hey there, I’ve got something exciting to share with you today! It’s all about the Whalehaven Winery and their amazing new chardonnay and pinot noir wines. These wines are special because they come from the Hemel-en-Aarde, which happens to be the third-oldest wine producer in the area. What makes these wines even more unique is that they reflect the one-of-a-kind terroir and cool climate of the region. Pretty cool, right?!

Whalehaven Seascape Reserve Chardonnay 2020

Now let’s talk about the star of the show – the Whalehaven Seascape Reserve Chardonnay 2020. This wine has been making waves (pun intended) and has already won some impressive awards, like double gold at Gilbert & Gaillard and a gold medal at IWSC. And you know what? It totally deserves it!

The winemaker, Reino Thiart, has a special approach to making this wine. He’s all about finding the perfect balance. In the past, he used to do a lot of batonage, which is a fancy word for stirring up the lees. But now, he’s shifted gears and created a fresh and vibrant style of chardonnay that’s far from the heavy and buttery wines of the past. Talk about innovation!

“When it comes to this wine, I wanted to really highlight the delicious flavors and structure of the chardonnay grapes. The wood flavors from the oak barrels play a supporting role, allowing the fruit to take center stage. To achieve this, I use a special technique called whole-bunch pressing, which gives the wine its body and structure. The wine is then fermented and aged in French oak barrels for about a year, with around 50% of the barrels being new oak. This balance between the wood flavors, hints of spice, and the natural fruit character creates a truly unique and enjoyable drink. And there’s something special about the patch of lime trees in the vineyard – it adds a touch of minerality and a distinctive flinty note to the wine.”

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When it comes to wine, there’s something special about the way it comes together. The combination of vibrant structure and crisp acidity creates a refreshing and lively experience. These cool-climate chardonnays have a delicate weight that allows their true finesse to shine, unlike their warmer counterparts. The influence of oak is present but restrained, serving as a subtle dance in the background while other characteristics take center stage.

The Magic of Aging

The Seascape Reserve Chardonnay has already spent three years aging, but it still has plenty more to offer. “I recently tried the 2020 vintage with some clients,” says Reino, “and it’s fantastic now. However, if you enjoy the flavors that come with bottle aging, I’d have no problem keeping this for another three to four years.”

When it comes to food pairings, Reino suggests getting a bit adventurous. While fish is a classic choice for chardonnay, he recommends trying something different like duck or white meat, such as chicken. Just be mindful not to go too creamy or heavy. Explore the possibilities and see what best complements the unique flavors of this wine.
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