Top 10 chardonnay wine estates to check out

Cape Town - South Africa is a wine-lovers playground. Vast and diverse, just looking at a map of all the gorgeous vineyard and farms of the winelands begging for your attention can leave you feeling slightly overwhelmed by where to begin.

Well, if you're a keen chardonnay drinker, then established wine critic Christian Eede has just simplified things for you with his 2014 Top 10 chardonnay report.

Eedes revealed his fourth report - produced in conjunction with wealth management firm, Sanlam Private Wealth - at a gathering of wine lovers at Thornton Whites in the Foreshore in Cape Town.

A total of 60 wines were tasted and judged by a panel led by Eedes, including renowned tasters Roland Peens and James Pietersen from Wine Cellar, to finally arrive at the sophisticated top 10.

So what better way to celebrate the top-end of what Eedes has described as ‘the wine with a universal following – arguably the best dry white wine in the world’ than by plotting your weekend cavorts around these award-winning estates? 

Four of the producers in this year’s top 10 have achieved success consistently, with Uva Mira, Hartenberg, Haskell Anvil and Paul Cluver setting a definitive Chardonnay benchmark.

With seven out of the Top 10 Chardonnay hailing from the spectacular Stellenbosch region, may we suggest splitting it up over two weekends or so, interspersed with visits to the gorgeous Elgin Wine Valley, The Hermel-en-Aarde wine route in Hermanus as well as the gastronomic food and wine pairing capital of Franschhoek. 

Here are the Christian Eedes Top Ten Chardonnay wine producers to check-out:  

Five stars:

1. Hartenberg The Eleanor 2012

Summer at Hartenberg is perfect for picnics on the lawns, followed by buoyant games of boule. Headed up by cellar master Carl Schultzs, the wine estate has established itself as a outstanding wine producer committed to experimentation, conservation and excellence.

Uva Mira2013

Christiaan Coetzee, Winemaker and manager of Uva Mira says, “I believe Matt Kramer said it bes, ‘Great wines taste like they come from somewhere.  You can’t fake somewhereness. You can’t manufacture it…but when you taste a wine that has it, you know.’ The views of Cape Town from the estate's restaurant are also otherworldly. 

Cool morning mist rolling off the Helderberg foothills

A photo posted by Uva Mira Vineyards (@uvamiravineyards) on

Four and a half stars: 

3. Chamonix Reserve 2013 

Home to some of the highest planted vineyards in the Cape, this Franschhoek estate was acquired by German-born entrepreneur and adventurer Chris Hellinger two decades ago - it has seen some extensive changes and now boasts a host of culinary options and a private game reserve for those wanting something a bit more.

4. Eikendal2013

Also set in Stellenbosch, take the opportunity to explore this working wine-farm as you indulge in al fresco dining, fly fishing, vineyard walks, or spend a night in their lodge. “Our vines flourish in such a unique and striking setting, framed by the Helderberg Mountains in the background, False Bay fanning from the side, and Table Mountain in the distance....a true reflection of our favourable Terroir," says winemaker Nico Grobler.  

5. Grand Vin de Glenelly 2013 

The Glenelly Estate is in the Ida's Valley on the southern slopes of the Simonsberg Mountain. Its origins date back to the seventeenth century when Simon van der Stel, Governor of the Cape, gave the land to the Huguenot François Villion.

Rustigheid #eikendal

A photo posted by Hestelle (@hestellepretorius) on

6. Haskell Anvil 2012 

Found on the slopes of the Helderberg Mountain in the Golden Triangle, the philosophy at this Vineyard's signature restaurant is, "a place where unpretentious, authentic, flavoursome food can be enjoyed in a relaxing and convivial environment, together with a concise but creative wine list, with Haskell and Dombeya wines (subject to availability) as well as a few mysterious, limited release imported wines to satisfy those looking for a touch of adventure in their dining experience". Can you resist?

7. Longridge 2013

First registered in 1841, Longridge began its commercial wine production in 1992, favouring age-old traditions of “natural winemaking’’ and respect for the land. Once here your wine tastings can turn into leisurely lunches, with visits to see the hardworking cows and ducks offering some child-friendliness into the mix.

#Haskellvineyards #sunset #winery #wine #love #stellies

A photo posted by tanyafourie (@tanyafourie) on

8. Newton Johnson Southend 2013

This family owned wine farm is the perfect day-trip destination, while based in the seaside town of Hermanus famous for its whale-watching.  Committed to the natural wine making processes their wine reflects "the cooler climate appellations in which the grapes are grown and account for elegant, mineral, supple and complex characters in the wine".  

Also see: Bottoms up in Hermanus

The secret of Longridge Chardonnay...

A photo posted by Longridge Wine Estate (@longridgewine) on

9. Paul Cluver 2013 

Found in the magical Elgin Valley, this vineyard has been in the Cluver family since 1896. Its wine production in fact forms part of a wider farming business called ‘De Rust Estate', which includes a number of eco-tourism activities such as its MB trails and an amphitheatre that is a popular summer venue - see upcoming event details here.

10. Stellenrust Barrel Fermented 2013

Stellenrust has been producing quality wines since the late 1920s, stretching across the Golden Triangle area of Stellenbosch, with the Bottelary Hills. Its cool climate and late afternoon sea breezes are said to be perfect for nurturing both excellent white and red wines. Also, the wine farm allows the novel experience of stomping your own grapes to make your own wine - you can even add your own logo.

For further information, or to download the full report, visit Sanlam Private Wealth or

Do you have a favourite wine estate? Tell us about it in the comment section below or come join our travel community on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Zama zama crackdown: What are your thoughts on West Village residents taking the law into their own hands?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Authorities should bring in the army already
10% - 948 votes
Illegal miners can't be scapegoated for all crime
53% - 5245 votes
What else did we expect without no proper policing
34% - 3327 votes
Vigilante groups are also part of the problem
3% - 322 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.