the Queen of Grapes
Emperor Charlemagne, or as some know him to be – Charles the Great, the King of Italy and the first Holy Roman Emperor in 800 A.D. – achieved greatness for uniting most of Western Europe at the time.
But according to legend, the King was also somewhat of a slob.
King Charles loved wine. When he indulged in his favourite red however, he’d slobber it all over his beard. His sticky beard eventually disgusted the queen to the point that she had white wine grapes planted on the royal couples’ estate. This area is known today as Corton-Charlemagne, a Burgundy region in France and where some of the great Chardonnay wines in the world are made.
Born out of a practical consideration for the image of his Royal Highness, Chardonnay has in itself achieved royal status. Not only is Chardonnay one of the most graceful words in French, due to its subtle tannin it also widely has the title of the Queen of the Grapes (with Cabernet Sauvignon being the King). Statistics show that this well-liked wine is the 5th most planted cultivar globally, second if one excludes red wine cultivars.
Chardonnay is generally regarded as quite a neutral cultivar and the terroir or soil in which it is grown seems to impact more on Chardonnay than on other white cultivars. This brings out very specific growth patterns and characteristics in the wine.
On the banks of the Breederivier, Olivedale’s sandy soil and heavy yellow clay base brings through a refreshing citrus and pineapple undertone, with subtle hints of white fig. In respecting the ways of nature rows of Chardonnay are planted from east to west. This follows the sun’s path from dusk till dawn which further optimises the Chardonnay’s ripe flavours.
At Olivedale pace is slow. They allow time for detail. Chardonnay grapes are hand-harvested at the break of early morn to be sorted by hand and pressed in bunches. Juice is matured for 7 months in centuries old French Oak Barrels before bottling.
Enjoying a glass of this full-rounded white wine will leave you with a mouth-watering long lingering finish, and will be a great complement to your favourite shellfish or seafood dish.