Deep gold color; lemon, bergamot oil, orange zest, bread, white flowers on the nose; Meyer lemon, pear, nectarine, honey, yellow apple, pineapple on the palate.
Dry; excellent acidity (3.29 pH) that balances its creamy lushness. Medium-full body. Some oak notes from 10 months in French oak, 41% new, but deftly done—a complement to the ripe fruit rather than makeup slavered over flaws. Lacks minerality you would expect from an ultra top-shelf chard, but makes up for it with its lush, ripe style, and there is a pinch of saline on the long finish. Clearly crafted to be an “Oh, wow” wine; 14% ABV.
While this is a South African wine product—Capensis means “from the Cape”, the proprietor is Jackson Family Wines—yes, Kendall-Jackson of California fame. Website explains: “Capensis is a joint venture between two longtime friends, Antony Beck and Barbara Banke. Antony serves as Director of Graham Beck Wines, founded by his father in 1983. In 2006 Beck and his wife, Angela, established Angela Estate in Willamette Valley, Oregon, which includes two estate vineyards, Angela Estate and Abbott Claim, and is focused on Pinot Noir. Chairman and proprietor of Jackson Family Wines, Barbara has spent the last two decades leading the company she co-founded with her late husband of 25 years, wine visionary Jess Jackson. Barbara takes a passionate hands-on role in the development and promotion of the Jackson Family Wine estates, as well as new projects and vineyard acquisitions.”
Graham Weerts is the winemaker. Website notes he “is a Cape Town native, where he spent his childhood and the early part of his winemaking career. It was almost inevitable that Graham would pursue winemaking. It’s a career that draws upon his agricultural heritage and his love of the outdoors, while also offering creative outlets and an intellectual challenge. To him, no other product that humans make offers the complexities and artistic value of wine. It unites people of all cultures. As Graham likes to say, ‘few wars were started over a great bottle of wine.’”
The website also notes: “South Africa’s Western Cape can be called both the oldest wine region of the New World and the newest wine region of the Old World. Capensis skillfully combines these two facets—the oldest and the newest—of Western Cape winemaking. It embodies the unparalleled quality that comes from old, gnarled vines planted in some of the oldest soils in the world, and it represents the young energy of a new generation of winemakers determined to make world-class wines with state-of-the-art techniques.”
Capensis Chardonnay, Western Cape, South Africa 2015 is smooth, elegant, sophisticated. Excellent mouthfeel, complexity, acidity, superb expression of chardonnay fruit. Vividly illustrates why South African wines should be in your cellar or wine fridge. Pair with grilled chicken and pineapple; salmon fish cakes; pork or pasta in creamy sauces; ham or cheese-based salads such as Caesar salad and chicken salad with peach, mango, macadamia nuts; chicken makhani. $75-80