“South Africa’s white blends are its gift to the world of wine,” says Tim Atkin, MW. And this one is extra delicious, thanks to stellar 2015, which Tim declares “may be the Cape’s most thrilling vintage yet.”
Travel to the heart of South Africa’s gorgeous Stellenbosch region, and at the end of your trek (a 21-hour flight from the U.S.), you’ll find the Gabb family’s aptly named estate, Journey’s End. Jancis Robinson calls their Chardonnay an “excellent value,” and we’d say the same of this exclusive, a blend of South Africa’s star white, Chenin Blanc (80 percent) and aromatic Viognier (20 percent). As you’ll taste, honeyed, grassy-fresh Chenin (a grape that calls France’s Loire Valley its spiritual home) takes on an even riper, richer character in South Africa. When paired with apricot-laden Viognier, another French original, it makes very aromatic, round-textured wines.
With its whimsical label and super-ripe fruit character, we think this white truly is the bee’s knees – and Journey’s End is just the type of quality-driven boutique that can help South Africa attract more of the well-deserved international spotlight. Talented winemaker Leon Esterhuizen, whose experience includes harvests at Napa Valley’s Chappelle Estate and Spain’s Bodegas Castaño, has been working his magic in the cellar since 2005, with kudos at the International Wine Challenge and the Decanter World Wine Awards to show for it.
In the glass, look forward to ripe tangerine, apricot, pear and orange blossom aromas. On the palate, bright orchard and zingy citrus fruit flavors are lifted by notes of fresh-cut grass and subtle spice.
Easy to enjoy on its own, this is also tasty with equally aromatic foods (think Thai or Indian), savory white meats or strong-flavored cheeses.