Happy International Chardonnay Day

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Such is the popularity of Chardonnay that for a great many people, meeting for a glass of wine means meeting for Chardonnay.

Chardonnay is a relatively neutral grape with a flexible character, it derives the bulk of its flavours from terroir, where it reflects the growing conditions with terrific fidelity, and barrelling, where it’s intrinsic flavour needs to be coaxed out. Creatively it’s a blank canvass for winemakers and that’s an exciting space to exhibit the craft of winemaking.

Flagstone’s Chardonnay is named Two Roads, from the well-known Robert Frost poem, because our winemaking philosophy takes us in many creative directions, avenues that are frequently roads less travelled. This is particularly pertinent to Chardonnay’s route into South Africa where importunity to demand was met with an insufficient supply of new planting material and so necessity saw the varietal smuggled into the country in a variety of creative ways during the 1970s, we have a close allegiance to Chardonnay because of this imaginative journey.

This varietal’s struggles didn’t end there, as so often comes with popularity, a growing chorus of detractors met Chardonnay’s predominance with cries of, “ABC – Anything But Chardonnay,” this largely in response to the big, buttery, oaked wines coming out of wineries in the 1980s. The reaction was to swing the other way, focusing on acidity and mineral steeliness that took the wines away from Chardonnay’s strength. Time and attention have seen a rebalancing of Chardonnay and recent expressions are increasing complex, wonderfully textured and very drinkable, like our Michelangelo Double Gold Flagstone Two Roads Chardonnay.

The grapes for this wine come from a farm in Wellington where the specific clone yields a light crop of early ripening, small berries with high sugar and acid, perfect for the specific region’s climate. After gentle whole bunch pressing, the juice is 40 % barrel fermented and matured for six to eight months in French oak barrels and 60% stainless steel fermented. Bottled under screwcap to ensure freshness and longevity, this wine can be enjoyed now or carefully cellared for up to five years from vintage.

RSP: R109 – available from cellar door and selected wine retailers