rustenberg label

Winemaker Murray Barlow represents the third generation of his family to make wine at the Rustenberg estate on the foot of the Simonsberg Mountain in Stellenbosch, South Africa, though the farm itself is well over 300 years old. I met him at a lunch at Crush Wine Bar, hosted Rustenberg’s Ontario agents, Woodman Wines and Spirits, where a handful of wine writers (and me) tasted through his Sauvignon Blanc, a couple Chardonnays, a ‘Syrah’ and a ‘Shiraz’, the winery’s esteemed Bordeaux blends and a ‘Straw’ dessert wine. Of particular interest was Rustenberg’s 2011 ‘Stellenbosch Chardonnay’ which is slated to come through the LCBO’s Vintages in April, priced at $22.95.

rustenberg and simonsberg

Tony Aspler, who was at the tasting rates the Rustenberg Chardonnay at 90 points (see his full note at, dated March 20, here). To my rough hewn palate, I believe it tastes far above its price point, much closer in style to Burgundy or Niagara, than, say, California or Australia – if one were to depend on Chardonnay style stereotypes. I bring up the comparison between Old and New World regions and styles because the Rustneberg Chardonnay has been selected by Wines of South Africa to be part of the wine tasting seminar, ‘South Africa’s Great Whites’ on April 8 at the Terroir Symposium, which asks of its panel and participants: ‘Is South Africa a New or Old World wine region?’ This is precisely the question, amoing a few others, I put to Murray Barlow in the video below, shot in Crush’s sunny private dining room.

Can’t see the video? Click here.

Malcolm Jolley is a founding editor of Good Food Revolution and Executive Director of Good Food Media, the not-for-profit corporation which publishes it. Follow him at