A glass of crisp oaky Chardonnay with a Salmon plate to enjoy a warm winters day in Durban.

This week Chardonnay’s flavours consisting of lemon zest, chalky minerality with hints of baked apple and tropical fruit flavours are on the menu.

I love Chardonnay, but it is a treat for me instead of a go-to white wine. Chardonnay offers rich buttery flavours. It is a wine ideal for lazy lunches on the balcony with a sea view.

If you are in Durban or on your way to the North Coast, the North Star Micro Hotel offers a selection of wine to order on the balcony.

La Motte Chardonnay white wine is an excellent pairing with the Salmon Plate for lunch at the North Star Micro Hotel. The Salmon Plate consists of Smoked Salmon, cream cheese, avo, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, baby spinach and a slice of ciabatta.

The La Motte Chardonnay is grown and produced in Franschhoek. The wine aromas are fruity lemon and nectarine on the nose, with hints of cashew nut as evidence of wood ageing. It is a juicy medium-full Chardonnay with lots of citruses and juicy peach on the palate. The wine is lively with good freshness for a wood-matured wine.

What is better to enjoy on a warm winters day in Umhlanga than a glass of Chardonnay with a Salmon plate for lunch? The winter weather at the North Star Micro Hotel is sunny.

 


Go Green, Go Glass in Durban

The North Star Micro Hotel is working hard against plastic waste. Your water and all drinks served at the North Star Micro Hotel comes in glass bottles.

The property is on the beachfront and supports the fight against plastic waste. Glass is easier to recycle and a better alternative to plastic. It is essential to look into every solution possible to fight the plastic waste problem ending up in the world’s oceans.

Please support the North Star Micro Hotel on the North Coast in Umhlanga to work against plastic pollution.

North Star Micro Hotel Wine Chat


This week we are talking about the history and rich flavours of Chardonnay wines.

What is the best white wine?

Regardless of whether you’re a white wine drinker or interested in expanding your wine palate, a bottle of Chardonnay deserves a little bit or, if you choose, a lot of your attention.

Chardonnay Grape variety

Chardonnay is a green-skinned grape variety used to produce white wine. The grape variety originated in the Burgundy wine region of eastern France but is now grown worldwide.

Origin: France Burgundy in east-central France is the birthplace of Chardonnay.

The sweetness of the wine is on the dry side with full buttery flavours. Wine colour of chardonnay wine is white.

Winemakers produce Chardonnay wine throughout the Old and New Worlds. It is an exceptionally versatile grape. It is made in various styles and reflects the winemaking as much as the vineyard.

In cooler climates, such as Chablis in northern Burgundy, Chardonnay tends to express green apples, pears and steely acidity. In warmer temperatures, citrus, lime, melon and peach are typical. In addition, winemakers often age Chardonnay in French and American oak, resulting in a rich, creamy, toasty wine character.

Chardonnay is also an essential component of quality sparkling wines. For example, champagnes with one hundred per cent Chardonnay is Blanc de Blancs with elegant and lively characteristics.

How do you drink Chardonnay?

 

Like all whites, Chardonnay should be served chilled. If the wine is too warm, the alcohol tastes hot, and the flavours flat. Too cold, and the flavours mute. The best temperature range is ten-degree celsius, achieved by two hours in the refrigerator or half an hour to an hour in an ice bucket.

The Popular Chardonnay Wine Varietal

Chardonnay is a very popular white wine varietal in the world. So let’s look at five aspects to make your chardonnay experience memorable.

Got bubbles? Chardonnay has bubble quality.

Chardonnay is one of the three main grapes used in champagne and red wine like pinot noir and pinot Meunier. A blanc de blanc champagne is all Chardonnay. In addition, many New World sparkling wines use a large amount of Chardonnay for Sparkling wine.
It’s the most popular white wine.
Winemakers love Chardonnay because it is easy to grow. Although chardonnay flavours are not as distinctive as Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay allows winemakers to blend their winemaking personality into the wine.

Chardonnay is the most compelling and famous white wine in the world. It is complex and exciting. Chardonnay is the red wine of white wines because of the barrel fermentation and malolactic winemaking process.

Chardonnay should not taste too dry or too buttery.


Fermenting the wine in barrels gives added tannin and structure and some toast and spice flavours, such as vanilla and nutmeg. New barrels help develop the wine’s flavours, while ageing in older barrels adds more texture.

Today, winemakers tend to ferment only a portion of the wine in new oak while reusing older barrels for the rest. The process results in a more balanced wine.

The malolactic process mentioned is a secondary fermentation that transforms tart malic acid into softer lactic acid. In taste terms, that changes the taste from green apples to cream. All red wines have this fermentation, but Chardonnay is the only white wine fermented in the process. “Malo,” the fermentation process softens tannin and decreases bitterness that can come from the grape skins. The process is the cause of buttery flavours in Chardonnay.

Toasty flavours come from the new oak barrels ageing, while the buttery flavours develop from malolactic fermentation. Chardonnay goes well with buttery dishes, but the wine shouldn’t be overly buttery. A balanced Chardonnay is an exceptional wine.

New World Chardonnay makers have toned down the oak, producing lighter unoaked Chardonnay. The process is a personal choice of each winemaker to make full-bodied Chardonnay or lighter wines fermented in steel barrels. As a result, South Africa offers brilliant unoaked Chardonnay wines at an affordable price range.
 
Chardonnay expresses terroir


Chardonnay is a good mirror of its climate and location, embracing the terroir qualities.

Chardonnay can taste tropical with hints of Mango in warm climates, while in a cooler climate, Chardonnay shows fresh acidity with fruit flavours like peaches and apricots. In addition, the winemaker’s techniques lift the soil characteristics of Chardonnay without a lot of oak ageing.

Some of the best Chardonnay wines come from cooler climates with balanced acidity and hints of full, rich fruit flavours. However, good Chardonnay can be expensive because of the winemaking process and the cost of ageing the wines in oak barrels.

Production location of the wine plays a significant role in the price. If the wine comes from a top-quality wine region, the yearly production quantity will be small. Better soil grows better grapes, which makes a specific wine region sought after.

If a producer decides to use an expensive barrel, such as oak, the price will increase. Depending on the barrels, the cost of the wine can increase. So, the next time you’re wondering why some Chardonnay wines are so expensive, think of all the steps that go into producing your bottle of Chardonnay.

Chardonnay Wines in South Africa

The Chardonnay grape has been popular in South African vineyards since the 1980s. Chardonnay is known for its ability to grow well in a wide variety of soils. The grape enjoys the warm, dry climate of the Western Cape, but too dry weather can affect the wine acidity.

Chardonnay wine characteristics

Chardonnay wine in South Africa presents flavours of fruit, especially peach and Mango. The wine also reveals spicy and wood notes because of the oak barrel fermentation. Chardonnay is an easy-drinking white wine with smooth oaky flavours. The experience is ripe fruits with a creamy texture and a balanced buttery flavour lingering in your mouth.

Chardonnay Food Pairings Guide

Chardonnay is the perfect food white wine. The wine offers balanced acidity with hints of fruit and toasty, buttery flavours perfect to pair with food. However, be careful of spicy foods. Subtle creamy flavours are perfect for enjoying chilled Chardonnay. Pairing Chardonnay with foods that complement its rich, mild flavours will enhance the taste of your dishes.

Chardonnay Food Pairings
Dos and Don’ts

DO
Serve Chardonnay with mild, buttery or creamy dishes. For example, pair Chardonnay with meaty fish like cod and shellfish, lobster and scallops is a delicious pairing. Likewise, you can pair Chardonnay with subtle flavoured, seasoned poultry and pork dishes.

Oaky Chardonnay wines with toasty flavours pair well with toasted nuts, pastries, grilled and smoked food.
Pair crisp Chardonnay wine with simply flavoured dishes, such as baked fish or poultry with butter and herbs.

Ripe Chardonnay’s with more sweetness pair well with ingredients like corn, butternut, sweet potatoes and caramelized foods from roasting or grilling, like crispy roasted chicken. In addition, chardonnay wine pairs perfect with silky texture dishes, like risottos and creamy soups, sauces, and pasta dishes.

DON’T
Avoid too many chillies and super spicy dishes, such as many Indian and Asian dishes. Also, be careful to pair Chardonnay with bitter foods and spices like Tumeric. It will make your wine taste sour.

Acidic foods, such as raw tomatoes, olives, capers, and sour sauces, can overpower your wine. Avoid pairing Chardonnay with pungent and high-acid cheeses and aged goat and sheep’s cheese. Be careful not to serve Chardonnay too cold or too warm. It will dull the richness of your wine and the food pairing characteristics.


Chardonnay Foods and Ingredients Pairings

The food preparation process and ingredients make a crucial difference to the success of your wine pairing. For example, is the food roasted, grilled or fire-cooked?

Every element of a dish can affect how it pairs with wine.
To ensure a balanced food pairing, match the style of your wine with the dish.

Firstly, make a note of the foods that pair well with Chardonnay. Then, consider the flavours in the wine and its body and acidity.

Light, crisp Chardonnays without oaky flavours taste best with lighter foods. Oaky, rich Chardonnays taste best with more decadent foods to compliment the wine’s sweeter, toasty flavours.

For example, poached chicken with lemon sauce pairs best with a light, citrusy Chardonnay. On the other hand, roasted chicken cooked in full-flavoured intense wine sauce match well with a more buttery toastier style wine.

Here is a list of foods and ingredients that will pair well when you serve Chardonnay wine.

Appetizers
Shrimps with Herbs and Green Pea Hummus served on Pita bread
Creamy Shrimp Dip
Grilled Shrimp with Apricot Glaze
Almond-Cream Cheese Apricots
Baked Ricotta with Lemon, Garlic & Chives

Cheeses       
Camembert
Brie
Fresh Mozzarella
Brie
Ricotta

Vegetables & Legumes     
Green Peas
White Beans
Zucchini
Edamame
Butternut
Squash
Carrots
Sweet Potatoes
Corn
Pumpkin

Fungi
Truffles and Mushrooms

Fruits
Apple
Pear
Peach
Mango

Pizza 
Pizza with Chicken, Mushrooms and Mozzarella
Mushroom & Brie Pizza
Caramelized Onion, Apple and Brie Pizza
Brie & Pear Pizza with Four Cheeses

Pasta, Polenta and Risotto
Lemony Shrimp Risotto
Wild Mushroom & Herb Pasta
Fettuccine with Scallops & White Wine Sauce
Pasta Creamy Chicken Sauce
Polenta with Scallops
Butternut Risotto
Gnocchi with Brown-Butter & Sage Sauce

Pork   
Roast Pork with Wine or Lemon
Pork Chops
Roast Pork with Cream or Apples
Hazelnut-Crusted Pork Chops

Poultry
Poached Chicken with Lemon Butter Sauce
Baked Chicken Breasts with Tarragon
Baked Chicken Thighs with Herbs & Mushrooms
Roast Chicken with Herbs
Wine-Braised Chicken with Mashed Potatoes
Grilled Lemon-Garlic Turkey

Salad
Tarragon Lobster Salad
Poached Salmon Salad with Herby Crème Fraîche Dressing
Pecan-Crusted Chicken Salad with Apples and Brie
Warm Scallop Salad with Mango and Hazelnuts

Sauce
Wine Sauce
Butter Sauce
Cream Sauce
Mild Cheese Sauce

Seafood     
Salmon with cream cheese
Sole with Butter & Lemon
Almond-Crusted Trout Crab Cakes with Herbs
Lobster with Butter
Pan-Seared Scallops
Baked/Poached Salmon Cod
Lobster with a butter sauce

Soup
Creamy Vegetable Soup
Seafood Bisque
Butternut Soup


Top 25 South African Chardonnay wines in South Africa right now


These are twenty-five of the top South African Chardonnay wines.

1
Mullineux Leeu Passant Chardonnay 2018 Stellenbosch · South Africa
Average rating 4.5
Average price R 700.00
This wine is available from online merchants

2
Springfield Estate Méthode Ancienne Chardonnay 2019 Robertson · South Africa
Average price R 373.00
This wine is available from online merchants

3
Meerlust Chardonnay 2019
Stellenbosch · South Africa
Average price R 285.00
This wine is available from online merchants

4
Newton Johnson Family Vineyards Chardonnay 2017 Hemel-en-Aarde Valley · South Africa
Average price R 459.00
This wine is available from online merchants

5
Hamilton Russell Vineyards Chardonnay 2019
Hemel-en-Aarde Valley · South Africa
Average price R 550.00
This wine is available from online merchants

6
Rupert & Rothschild Baroness Nadine 2017
Western Cape · South Africa
Average price R 316.00
This wine is available from online merchants

7
Domaine des Dieux Chardonnay 2016
Walker Bay · South Africa
Average price R 216.00
This wine is available from online merchants

8
Babylonstoren Chardonnay 2020
Western Cape · South Africa
Average price R 288.00
This wine is available from online merchants

9
Uva Mira Mountain Vineyards The Mira Chardonnay 2019 Stellenbosch · South Africa
Average price R 296.00
This wine is available from online merchants

10
Alvi’s Drift Chardonnay Reserve 2018
Breede River Valley · South Africa
Average price R 125.00
This wine is available from online merchants

11
Bouchard Finlayson Crocodile’s Lair Kaaimansgat Chardonnay 2018 Overberg · South Africa
Average price R 186.00
This wine is available from online merchants

12
Glen Carlou Chardonnay 2020
Paarl · South Africa
Average price R 140.00
This wine is available from online merchants

13
Steenberg Sphynx Chardonnay 2019
Western Cape · South Africa
Average price R 166.00
This wine is available from online merchants

14
Delaire Graff Chardonnay Banghoek Reserve 2019 Stellenbosch · South Africa
Average price R 284.00
This wine is available from online merchants

15
Crystallum The Agnes Chardonnay 2019
Western Cape · South Africa
Average price R 280.00
This wine is available from online merchants

16
Groot Constantia Chardonnay 2018
Constantia · South Africa
Average price R 279.00
This wine is available from online merchants

17
De Wetshof Bon Vallon Chardonnay 2020
Robertson · South Africa
Average price R 167.00
This wine is available from online merchants

18
Bouchard Finlayson Missionvale Chardonnay 2018 Walker Bay · South Africa
Average price R 324.00
This wine is available from online merchants

19
Tokara Chardonnay Reserve Collection 2019 Stellenbosch · South Africa
Average price R 250.00
This wine is available from online merchants

20
De Wetshof The Site Chardonnay 2016
Robertson · South Africa
Average price R 317.00
This wine is available from online merchants

21
Springfield Estate Wild Yeast Chardonnay 2019 Robertson · South Africa
Average price R 168.00
This wine is available from online merchants

22
De Wetshof Danie de Wet Limestone Hill Chardonnay 2020
Western Cape · South Africa
Average price R 102.00
This wine is available from online merchants

23
De Wetshof Finesse Chardonnay 2019
Robertson · South Africa
Average price R 155.00
This wine is available from online merchants

24
Thelema Chardonnay 2017
Stellenbosch · South Africa
Average price R 196.00
This wine is available from online merchants

25
Kleine Zalze Vineyard Selection Chardonnay (Barrel Fermented) 2020
Western Cape · South Africa
Average price R 145.00
This wine is available from online merchants

 

North Star Micro Hotel Specials

Northstar Romantic Weekend Package R15 100
Couples Package

Are you looking for a romantic, balmy beach getaway to break the winter cold?

The North Star Micro Hotel beachfront property offers you a special winter getaway.

Book the Couples Romantic Weekend package and enjoy:
2 Nights stay in one of the luxurious rooms with breakfast
45 min couples massage with an express pedicure and facial treatment.
Couples High tea
Cocktails on arrival
to book, please email info@northstar-hotel.com

Contact or visit the North Star Micro Hotel from 8 am to 10 pm, Monday to Sunday, to enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner. Bask in the winter sun and enjoy the luxury and privacy of the North Star Micro Hotel with a view of the Indian ocean.

Contact Number
t: 076 611 4592

Enquiries to book your Accommodation
Room stay@northstar-hotel.com
Venue | info@northstar-hotel.com

26 Eastmoor Crescent, Umhlanga Rocks, Umhlanga, 4320