The best of the Old World and New World meet in the racy, complex 2021 Rustenberg Stellenbosch Chardonnay. This balanced and nuanced Chardonnay sports a brilliant sun-struck color and offers enticing aromas of yellow apple, apricot, coconut, and orange peel, all imbued with a hint of spicy oak. In the mouth Rustenberg’s 2021 Chardonnay is equally gratifying as it expands on the palate to satisfy the senses with a delicious mélange of fruit, spice, and mineral carried on racy and refreshing acidity. Balanced, refined, and full of flavor, this classic Chardonnay makes many big name New World Chardonnays look awkward and flabby and French white burgundies seem insipid and underendowed. The classic 2021 Rustenberg Stellenbosch Chardonnay deserves the many accolades it has received (94 Points: International Wine & Spirits Competition; 92 Points: Decanter World Wine Awards; 92 Points: James Suckling; 91 Points: Wine Spectator). Enjoy this wine now or lay it down for another year or two to gain further complexity as it has the propensity to age. For optimal enjoyment, we suggest moderate chilling (40°-45° F) and a few minutes of aeration in a clean glass to allow it to fully express itself. Anticipated maturity: 2023-2026. Enjoy!
The 2021 Rustenberg Stellenbosch Chardonnay demonstrates that it is equally at home on the finest of tables as it is on its own. Given the balance, flavor and complexity of Rustenberg’s 2021 Chardonnay, it pairs superbly with seafood, pasta, poultry, risotto, pork and veal. Poached salmon in a tarragon-infused butter sauce served over a bed of crunchy organic greens makes a first-rate companion to this Chardonnay. Shrimp and Grits and creamy vegetable and mushroom risottos provide excellent company, too. Butternut ravioli, served with a Chardonnay cream sauce with sage, apple, and walnuts offers another tasty accompaniment. A well-made Chicken Pot Pie with roasted chicken and vegetables also earns two thumbs up. A creamy polenta with mushrooms and thyme provides another flavorful companion to this lively Chardonnay. A plate of fresh crisp apples and creamy cow’s milk cheeses also offer a tasty and easy to prepare accompaniment to the delicious 2021 Rustenberg Chardonnay. Bon appétit!
Despite the fact that the incredible quality and high praise continue to mount from the most discerning wine critics, Stellenbosch and the surrounding wine lands of South Africa’s Western Cape still don’t receive the attention and excitement they deserve. No viticultural area or major wine producing region in the world presents itself more spectacularly. The sheer physical beauty of Africa’s Western Cape, paired with commanding waves of well tended hillside vines and the proliferation of centuries-old Cape Dutch architecture, makes Stellenbosch both stunningly beautiful and unique among the great wine regions of the world. And Rustenberg is one of the oldest and most renowned wine estates in this majestic wine land.
Rustenberg was founded in 1682 and lies nestled in the valley of the Simonsberg, at the very heart of the Stellenbosch wine region. Rustenberg produces a full range of wines, including Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Roussanne, Syrah, and several exciting blends. This family owned property enjoys a rich heritage and an ethos that have been informed by many centuries of human influence striving to understand and work with nature to produce wines of distinct character that are true to their terroir, variety and style. At the International Wine of the Month Club, we have enjoyed all of Rustenberg’s wines over the years, including the estate’s flagship red wines, Peter Barlow Cabernet Sauvignon and John X. Merriman, the latter a Bordeaux blend named in honor of a former owner of Rustenberg. However, Rustenberg is equally adept at fashioning exceptional white wines, including the estate’s Chardonnay. The 2021 Rustenberg Chardonnay (this month’s feature) offers exceptional quality and value, solidifying Rustenberg’s reputation as a premier source of world class white wines.
Located on the Western Cape, less than an hour north of Cape Town, the picture post card town of Stellenbosch and the surrounding mountains form a dramatic backdrop for what has been heralded as the most beautiful wine country in the world. Although one may debate that claim and the various picturesque merits of other world renowned wine regions, what is not in question is the integral role Stellenbosch has played for more than three centuries in the formation of South African wine. Stellenbosch is unquestionably South Africa’s oldest and most important wine producing region. It is South Africa’s Napa, Sonoma, and Santa Barbara counties all in one. It contains a myriad of microclimates and is responsible for high quality red and white wines from a host of varietals, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Viognier, and South Africa’s most unique varietal, Pinotage, a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault. From wineries in Stellenbosch old and new flow an enormous variety of wines that are both world class and wholly unique in character.
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