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A beautiful drink

by Fiona McIntosh on 27.10.2013

My love of wine began a couple of decades ago when I was working in London.

We’d hit the wine bars on a Friday after work and quaff varietals from all over the world, but in particular new world Chardonnays.

Then came ABC – Anything But Chardonnay - the backlash against the glut of heavy, oaky chardonnays that were flooding the market. And I have to say that I’ve been a Sauvignon Blanc – and even occasionally a Chenin Blanc – drinker ever since.

Until last night when I had dinner with Mariette du Toit-Helmbold, CEO of Cape Town Tourism for the past ten years and now owner of Destinate, a global destination marketing agency.

To celebrate our first visit to her new home in the Winelands she opened a birthday gift, filling my glass with a pale gold wine. The oaky, buttery aroma gave the grape away and I hesitated.

‘Try it; it’s a Meerlust Chardonnay. One of my all time favourite wines and pretty much what I will be drinking the whole of summer,’ Mariette enthused.

The delicious 2009 Meerlust Chardonnay

Truth be told it smelt divine; and it tasted even better. Positively ABD – A Beautiful Drink. I am now a convert: GMCAD. Give Me Chardonnay (of this quality) Any Day.

About Meerlust and the 2009 Chardonnay

Meerlust Estate, near Stellenbosch, is probably one of South Africa’s most esteemed wine estates, producing world acclaimed wines, of which the Meerlust Rubicon is the most famous.

The Meerlust Estate is best known for the full-bodied Meerlust Rubicon

This seventeenth-century national monument - part of South Africa’s oldest wine route, the Stellenbosch Wine Routes - has been the pride of the Myburgh family since 1756. Today, the traditional dedication to the art of winemaking continues under the guidance of Hannes Myburgh, eighth generation custodian of the Meerlust Estate.

The 2009 Chardonnay is described as a very bright, polished platinum with a green, vivacious hue. It has a complex, appealing nose with quince, citrus and floral notes developing into lemon cream, oatmeal and marzipan richness.

On the palate the wine is full bodied and generous, but still balanced by crisp acidity. There is ripe tropical fruit and creaminess balanced by a pure minerality typical of the variety. The wine has a long, very pleasant lingering finish indicating the richness and persistence of the vintage.

About Fiona McIntosh

Fiona McIntosh - adventurer and lover of wine and good food

Fiona McIntosh is one of South Africa’s great adventurers, but she also loves good food and wine.

She says her wanderlust comes from her early days as international fencer, which took her behind the Iron Curtain and to relatively unknown parts of the world like Cuba and Korea way back in the 1970s.

Since then, in between writing a few books and churning out magazine articles, she has skied to the north and south pole, climbed the highest peaks, dived to the depths and kayaked raging rivers. Read more about her and her adventures here.

Images courtesy of Meerlust Estate and Mariette du Toit-Helmbold.