In South Africa earlier this month we came across a lovely white wine, with a French-sounding name, “Claime d’Or”. It’s a Chardonnay, made in the French style (unwooded, sur-lie), from the Robertson area.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, the South African wine industry has been much influenced by French viticulture ideas, beginning from the late 17th century when the French Huguenots arrived in the Cape.
Until fairly recently, Chardonnay was not one of the most popular/common white varietals, but this is changing. And this wine is a lovely example of what can be done with Chardonnay in South Africa. It paired especially well with these grilled (on an open fire) mussels, stuffed with cheese and herbs.
The name on the label was intriguing, so we checked in the latest Platter’s Wine Guide. The word “claime “ in the “claime d’or” on the label was the mystery at first, as in no French dictionary that we possess could we find a word “claime”, or one even similar. But, it turns out that the “d’or” is a reference to the fact that some of the vines in this boutique winery of De Wet & Rapoport are in the so-called Goudmyn (Goldmine) area. So “claime” is a clever play-on-words for a claim in the gold mines. This chardonnay is in the Solidus range, and we discover that a solidus was a gold coin from the late Roman Empire. Neat.