At the function to present The Christian Eedes Chardonnay Report 2012 at French Toast Wine & Tapas Bar yesterday, sponsor Alwyn van der Merwe of Sanlam Private Investments emphasised that like Team GB obtained success in the 2012 Olympics, so too our Chardonnay winemakers are using ‘incremental improvement’ to obtain success. Uva Mira Single Vineyard 2011 and Jordan Barrel Fermented 2011 Chardonnays were both awarded a 5 star rating, and were the top two Chardonnays out of 60 evaluated.

Chardonnay is a white wine that should get recognition, said competition co-ordinator, wine judge, and wine writer Christian Eedes.  The first successful Chardonnay was made 20 years ago by Danie de Wet, of De Wetshof in Robertson.

Eedes explained that he started the Chardonnay competition last year, as he felt that wine judging needed a shake-up, as strange results were coming out of competitions.  Involving Roland Peens of Wine Cellar and James Pietersen, Beverage Manager of Belthazar and Balducci, as his fellow judges, they invited 60 Chardonnay producers to enter the competition, not charging an entry fee.  2010 and 2011 vintages were tasted, and Eedes said that they did not have the same richness as those of 2009, which now are ‘fantastically drinkable’. The vintages evaluated this year are ‘big and forceful’ wines, he said.

The Top 10 Chardonnay list, not ranked other than in terms of its star rating, is as follows:

* 5 stars:

Uva Mira Single Vineyard 2011

Jordan Barrel Fermented 2011

*   4,5 stars:

Tokara Reserve Collection Walker Bay 2011

Sumaridge 2011

Sterhuis Barrel Selection 2010

Radford Dale 2011

KWV The Mentors 2011

Hartenberg 2010

Hamilton Russell Vineyards 2011

Almenkerk 2011

French Toast served a number of their tapas dishes, including chicken kebabs, salmon pancakes, deep-fried seafood treats, mushroom bruschetta, and Mediterranean vegetable stirfry bruschetta.

Disclosure: We received a bottle of Uva Mira Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2011 with our media pack.

The Christian Eedes Chardonnay Report 2012.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage