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South Africa's best value Chardonnay (UK Exclusive)

Thelema 'Sutherland' Chardonnay, 2017

*The holy grail of wine buying.*

*UK Exclusive*


This wine is that perfect thing. A house wine that delivers all of the indulgence and complexity of something twice its price.


There are more bad Chardonnay's in this world than hot dinners. Fact. From fermenting pineapple juice to teeth stripping acidity, your money can so easily be frittered away on over-priced plonk. So when we found ourselves in the sun soaked tasting room at Thelema, with the incredibly passionate and talented Thomas Webb, it was like our first sip of Thelema Sutherland Chardonnay was heaven sent. And when Tom offered us a UK exclusive on the 2017 vintage as well as a Swig-tastic price for our shipment we were over the moon!


How come it’s such good value?

Basically, the Webbs bought in Elgin, to supplement their Stellenbosch vineyard, before it was fashionable. It’s kept the set-up costs down, and they were able to make the wine in their existing winery. To add to that, they are modest folk, not inclined to blow their own trumpet, and while others jostle position they are comfortable in their shoes.

Thelema Mountain Sutherland Chardonnay 2017

*Previous Chardonnay in Decanter's blind tasting Cape Chardonnays - with the next few being over £20*


Thelema 'Sutherland' Chardonnay, 2017

Elgin | 13.5 %abv


To have a wine that keeps you coming back from more, time after time, and has you discovering new things with each inhale, at this price point, is a thing of true beauty and rarity. At first you get a toasty, slighty smokey beurre noissette on the nose that opens into a vanilla tinted toffee apple and just a touch of that tangy citrus to draw it back in. The palate continues this incredible focus and taut minerality with chantilly cream served over a rich buttery apple tart injected with that vigour and exuberance of a flinty minerality.  


This is the Chardonnay you had from the 2014 vintage that came out top in Decanter's blind tasting. The 2016 is perhaps a step up - a wee bit less oak and finer, gentler characteristics-  although I still think the 2014 was awesome.


Winemaker, Thomas, loves this so much that it was the wine he had at his wedding.

£13.95 when 12 bottles (£167.40)

£14.95 when 6 bottles (£89.70)


£13.50 when 24 this price available by email or phone only.


N.B. This is a pre-shipment offer. The wine will arrive from South Africa in August.

The back ground and the secret to its brilliant value:

Ever found yourself sipping a particularly good glass of wine and dreaming of a life trampling grapes and pruning vines? Well after one, particularly life-changing, glass of Puligny-Montrachet, Gyles Webb decided to do just that. He threw down his calculator (he was an accountant) and along with his wife purchased a 157 hectare fruit farm in Stellenbosch. Fast forward 30 years and they are now one of the most respected producers in South Africa.


Gyles Webb was the pioneer of what has become the New Wave movement in South Africa in the nineties (wine lovers made a pilgrimage to the cellar door long before restaurants and heli-pads were a necessity). He had the foresight not to just rely on having planted some of the highest vineyards in Stellenbosch to secure the winery’s future. He astutely bought land in cooler climate Elgin (it gets lots of Southerly’s straight off the ocean), before it was trendy. At first we thought 'why bother, you’ve got one of the most marketable brands in South Africa', but this is the wine that proves him right. It has elements of fine complex Chardonnay that elude even some of the most expert producers in the world, as they simply don’t get the fruit from their vineyards that offer the scintillating characteristics you find in this wine. Fortunately for us, Gyles and Thomas want you to fine more than you expect in their wine and have a very modest, and I would say realistic pricing strategy. In real terms it’s quite a bit cheaper than Thelema was 25 years ago.



Looking at Tim Atkin MW’s review below, the 2014 was clearly a harbinger of things to come:

'Thelema's Elgin Chardonnays are in a rich vein of form at the moment. This combines flinty reduction with beeswax, honey and mineral notes, with some pear and melon sweetness and a core of fresh acidity. The oak is very smart too’ 94 points.


Below: Thomas Webb and myself on our recent trip to the cape. Tom has works with his father, Gyles, who was really the leader of new-wave of the first generation post-apartheid to make wines that really caught our attention. In the 1990s I was the first to bring his wine into the UK, when I was buyer for large importer. It’s wonderful to have a new beginning, this time with another generation, his lovely son Thomas Webb.


Greek: meaning 'will' or 'intention'

The creation of monk, philosopher and teacher, Rabelais of the 16th Century, Thelema is an ideal world packed to the brim with beautiful people wearing beautiful clothes and doing beautiful things. They aren't bound by the petty day to day concerns that you and I face such as the time or boundaries. No the only rule the Thelemans have is to 'do what thou will'. 

Sound tempting? Well put your glad rags on, take off that watch and enjoy a nice cold glass of Chardonnay just as the Thelemans might have done - if they had existed that is! 

Email or phone to order if you prefer 08000 272 272.

All orders include free UK delivery. This is a pre arrival offer. The wine is being shipped direct and is available from August. 

Swig Wines Limited

London W4 3HR

Reg. No. 05982489

vat no 778 0589 76

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