Love Wine Challenge: Part 2
The team here at Love Wine thought it would be a good idea if we set ourselves a challenge...
The challenge is actually rather simple; each month a member of the team (so that's Alex, Will and myself (Chris)) will buy a wine that we haven't tried before and do an honest review.
The catch? We have to pay for it ourselves and then review it in a professional manner AND in Layman's terms, suggest pairing it with a recipe, topped off with a pretty picture.
For the month of each review, the chosen wine will be on a 15% discount so you can come in a give it a go if you like the sound of it.
What do you get out of it? Apart from the initial discount, if you buy any of the wines that we review, you will automatically be placed into a draw. The winner of this draw will receive each of the reviewed wines for free!
So let's get into it!
Restless River 'Ava Marie' Chardonnay 2014, Hemel-En-Aarde South Africa. £35.25
Craig Wessels and his wife together established Restless River. It's a small winery in the Heme-en-Aarde valley that started life in 2004 from scratch. First vintage was 2005, and along with the following vintage, this was made in a tiny hut, as a sort of hobby venture. The Restless River label was launched as recently as 2012. The winery has grown from its hut beginnings, but not by too much. The 2017 vintage saw just 25 tons crushed. There are 7 hectares of vines on this 20 hectare property.
The wine that has established the winery's reputation is Chardonnay. Craig looks for freshness in his Chardonnay, and picks with high acidity. He also likes old barrels, and when he buys new ones, he often lends them out for a year before using them. A new addition to the cellar is a pair of amphorae, from Tuscany, which are used to ferment Chardonnay.
But What's in the bottle?
Beautiful golden colour, this wine is unbelievably well-balanced and currently singing within a perfect drinking window. To get hold of a 2014 Hemel-En-Aarde Chardonnay in 2019 is no easy feet, due to the regions small production and popularity.
The nose is super complex showing caramel notes, lemon, butter, toffee apple and a nutty complexity.
The palate does not disappoint either. The wine has still so much power to it. Stunning acidity and a great full mouth feel. The fruit is still concentrated and exotic showing caramelized citrus elements. Also notes of creme brulee and hazelnut.
2014 was a difficult vintage in general but this wine is a shining light and a testament to excellent wine making.
I'd love it if I could convince some of you white Burgundy heads out there to give this wine a go as it is as good as a Premier Cru Puligny-Montrachet at a fraction of the price.
Food pairing is obviously very subjective. I think this wine is so good you can enjoy it's complexities without any food.
However, I was pretty hungry so decided to pair with pan fried Scallops and Chorizo.
If you've never tried this paring before you should with any good Chardonnay or Chenin Blanc.
The meatiness of the scallops pair perfectly with the weight of the wine with the soft mouthfeel of both complementing each other wonderfully. The high acidity of the wine cuts effortlessly through the oily sauce from the pan-fried Chorizo. The camarilised nutty flavours from the wine pair brilliantly well with the caramlisation of the Chorizo.
All in all it was a very satisfying Thursday evening spent reviewing a first rate South African Chardonnay.
So there it is, our second team review. Throughout the month of May, Restless River Chardonnay will be on a 15% discount and you will automatically be entered into our draw! Be quick, we don't have much!
- Chris Rogers