South African Chard Takes Crown of World’s Best at French Competition


The Groot Constantia wine estate is a long way from France.
That didn’t stop the winery from sending shock waves from Europe to Africa when it was announced the estate’s 2013 Chardonnay won the title of world’s best Chardonnay at the 22nd annual Chardonnay du Monde competition this past March in Burgundy.
“Beating more than 800 other entrants from across the globe to be judged best overall, Groot Constantia’s 2013 Chardonnay proudly represented South Africa as one of only two chardonnays from South Africa to feature in the top 56 and to receive a gold medal,” a press release from the winery said. 
Groot boss said the chardonnay has always been an “overachiever.”
The wine also finished in the top 10 in the 2014 competition. 
Groot viticulturist Floricius Beukes said the chardonnay has Mother Nature to thank for its strong performances at competitions.
“The summer breezes from the Atlantic Ocean have a big impact on our vineyards, keeping them healthy and retaining the … fruit character,” Beukes said. 
According to the competition’s website, the Groot chardonnay beat out 12 other wines in the top-10 (there were three ties).
South Africa, Australia, Switzerland, Brazil, Canada and upstart winemaker Hungary each had one wine in the top 10, while France had seven wines in the top group.
Australia’s DB Reserve Chardonnay 2013 took second place, while Switzerland's Chardonnay de Peissy Eleve en fut de Chene 2012 took third. Brazil’s Casa Valduga Leopoldina Gran Chardonnay Do Vale Dos Vinhedos 2013 took fourth, while France’s Champagne Bertrand-Lapie Millesime Brut 2009 rounded out the top five.
According to a competition press release, this is the first time Hungary and Brazil snagged spots on the top-10 list. 
“The 2015 Top 10 propose the diversity of the expressions of Chardonnay wines through still wines, wines with residual sugars and Sparkling wines,” the competition press release said. 
Each of the wines listed in the top 10 won gold medals. Overall, the competition's judges handed out 56 gold medals, 196 silver medals and 23 bronze medals. 
France took home the most medals, with 30 golds, 103 silvers and eight bronzes. South African came in second on the overall-medals list with 15: a pair of golds and 13 silvers.
More than 800 wines from 41 countries were tasted by a panel of 300 “international expert judges,” the competition’s press release said.

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