Chardonnay and Sunny Southern Summers

It's summer in the Southern hemisphere, and for this occasion, we invited our friend Zukiswa Kota to do a guest post for friendsthatwine.com. This time, Zuki took us on a virtual trip to the little Kingdom of Swaziland. Enjoy!

The beginning of summer in late October, early November heralds a range of seasonal activities that bring with them roaring scents, sounds and sensory pleasures. Summer in the Southern hemisphere is particularly exciting. Near the southernmost tip of the African continent – summer means soaring daytime temperatures, sudden thunderous rainstorms, screaming cicadas and landscapes heaving with new life. If you happen to experience summer in the little Kingdom of Swaziland – summer is a mix of stifling lowveld heat¹, heavy middleveld humidity and scented highveld rains². Across the region – this time of the year is also synonymous with families and friends gathering around aromatic, vibrant braais³. Southern summers are as sunny as you can get.

So add to this mix some delectable, affordable local wines and few exotic getaways can compare. Off we go, therefore, to South Africa’s Western Cape wine-making region.

The Graham Beck Waterside Chardonnay from Robertson is one of my favourite wines. Few can compare to its balanced palate and irresistible aromas. Admittedly, my love for this wine may be biased owing to a first sampling being connected to a rather glamorous restaurant on memorable occasion with treasured friends…and then at a particularly fun braai several months later.

This is a beautiful local wine. Its light-bodied, zesty palate conjures up playful spring and early summer afternoons. Its pale straw appearance adds to its attractiveness (so you can afford to buy it even if only to create stunning Instagram images).
From the Stellenbosch Rustenberg estate is their unwooded Chardonnay whose 2015 vintage yields a surprising freshness and clean palate.

This is not a conventionally buttery chardonnay and may not appeal as easily to most as the Waterside might. Its citrus notes are unmistakable, somewhat bordering on overwhelming making it, in my opinion, a fantastic summer wine.
These are just a few of the reasons to be excited about summer in the Southern hemisphere.


¹ The name given to low lying areas located at an elevation of between 150 and 600 metres above sea level. This includes area in the Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal provinces of South Africa and parts of the Kingdom of Swaziland

² As the name suggests – this refers to high lying areas – about 1 100 metres above sea level or more. Johannesburg in South Africa and Mbabane in Swaziland are both highveld cities. 

³ Southern African version of the ‘barbeque’ (notably – people in this part of the world tend to host braais ‘come rain or shine’ – such is the love of meat, cheer and drink)

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