From creamy oak to fruit

Chenin Blanc is the most widely planted grape va­ri­ety in SA, writes Gra­ham Howe

Business Day - Home Front - - HOMEFRONT -

FIRST planted in the Cape in the 17th cen­tury, Chenin Blanc has been cul­ti­vated in some of the old­est bushvines in the winelands. Young or old, Chenin Blanc is renowned for its ver­sa­til­ity and age­abil­ity, as a wine made that cov­ers a wide spec­trum of styles.

Planted in al­most ev­ery re­gion from the Swart­land to the Orange River, Chenin Blanc is pro­moted as the great white hope of the winelands. The Chenin Blanc As­so­ci­a­tion recog­nises six broad styles of Chenin Blanc — fresh and fruity, rich and ripe (dry), rich and ripe (wooded), rich and ripe (offdry), dessert (spe­cial and noble late har­vest) and sparkling wine (bot­tle or tank-fer­mented).

Donkies­baai Steen 2011. Rust en Vrede has re­leased a flag­ship Chenin Blanc (la­belled as Steen, its tra­di­tional lo­cal name) named af­ter the fam­ily home on the West Coast. Made from 30-year-old dry­land bush vines, this part bar­rel-fer­mented wine balances trop­i­cal le­mon and lime flavours with a creamy brush of oak.

False Bay Chenin Blanc 2011. Made from grapes grown on tra­di­tional bush vines and fer­mented with wild na­tive yeast, this melange of ap­ple aro­mas and trop­i­cal fruit flavours ex­presses the hall­mark char­ac­ter and ter­roir of this tra­di­tional Cape va­ri­ety. Nat­u­ral wild yeast fer­men­ta­tion cre­ates a gen­er­ous mouth­feel and bright acid­ity.

Kleine Zalze Bush Vine Chenin Blanc 2011. The grapes were sourced from old, low yield-bear­ing bush vines in the Helder­berg to cre­ate wines with fresh va­ri­etal fruit and a brush of botry­tis. This best­value Chenin, a sig­na­ture white va­ri­ety show­cases trop­i­cal guava, ripe pineap­ple, litchi and peach char­ac­ter and zesty acid­ity.

Leeuwenkuil Chenin Blanc 2011. This his­toric farm in the Parde­berg in the Swart­land has launched a new range. Made from grapes grown on 28-year-old “gob­lets” (an an­cient dry­land vine method), this typ­i­cal Swart­land Chenin shows green ap­ple, granadilla and guava flavours, good min­er­al­ity, leesy tex­ture and a zesty fin­ish.

An­drea and Chris Mullineux blend grapes from old bush vines in three types of soil to show the as­pects of Chenin Blanc. Fer­mented with in­dige­nous yeasts, left on the lees for 12 months, bot­tled un­fil­tered to cre­ate a rich wine with fresh pear and cit­rus flavours, and a

min­eral, spicy fin­ish.

Perde­berg Chenin Blanc 2011. Founded 70 years ago, the land­mark Paarl win­ery is renowned for its sig­na­ture Chenin Blanc made in three styles: the flag­ship Rex Equus, re­serve and stan­dard ver­sions. This award­win­ning vin­tage is full-bod­ied with guava aro­mas, trop­i­cal fruit salad flavours and fresh acid­ity.

Remhoogte Honey­bunch Re­serve Chenin Blanc 2011. Sourced from a 26-year-old sin­gle vine­yard planted on the slopes of the Si­mons­berg, this bar­rel-fer­mented Chenin from a bou­tique fam­ily wine cel­lar spent a year on its lees, has spicy aro­moas of apri­cots, fyn­bos and figs with lus­cious flavours of wild honey, peaches and cream.

Si­mon­sig Chenin Blanc 2011. This fa­mous fam­ily wine es­tate in Stel­len­bosch that re­leased its first vin­tage in 1968 us­ing this sig­na­ture white va­ri­ety still makes award-win­ing Chenin Blanc in two styles — un­wooded (a trop­i­cal fruit salad of pineap­ple, ripe pears and guavas) and the lightly wooded Chenin Avec Chêne 2010.

Spier 21 Gables Chenin Blanc 2010. The new flag­ship la­bel is named af­ter the 21 Cape Dutch gables on one of the Cape’s old­est wine farms. Ac­claimed at the De­canter World Wine Awards 2012, IWC 2012 and Con­cours Mondial de Brux­elles 2012, old vines con­trib­ute ripe trop­i­cal flavours of apri­cots, ap­ples and mar­malade.

“T” Noble Late Har­vest 2009. A cult dessert wine made by Ken For­rester from old bushvines. Botry­tis im­parts the rich, unc­tu­ous char­ac­ter of this golden elixir with a mar­malade nose, rich trop­i­cal apri­cot, peach and pineap­ple flavours, and a sweet and sour twist, a spicy, wild honey fin­ish.

Waterk­loof Cir­cum­stance Straw Wine 2009. Chenin Blanc grapes were dried on a “mat­tress” of straw to con­cen­trate the nat­u­ral aro­mas and flavours of the grapes grown in these bio­dy­namic vine­yards and high-al­ti­tude cel­lar. This “liq­uid sun­shine” has lus­cious flavours of apri­cot, dried pear, honey and caramelised nuts.

Si­mon­sig Vine­yards.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.