Lourens van der Westhuizen, who makes some pretty handy wines under the Arendsig label from grapes grown on the family farm in Robertson, has just released a top-end Chenin Blanc from the 2012 vintage.
Grapes in this instance come from Rawsonville – a block of bush vines planted in 1972. Slightly less than one hectare in size, it’s densely planted (some 10 000 vines) and yields 35 tons a year. “It’s not about tons per hectare but bunches per vine” says Van der Westhuizen who took five tons off it, the rest going to Du Toitskloof Winery.
In the cellar, fermentation took place spontaneously and maturation was over 12 months in a combination of 225-litre and 300-litre barrels, none new.
It’s the kind of wine that stops you in your tracks – wonderfully appealing aromatics of lemon and peach, honey and freshly baked bread. On the palate, there’s a dense core of fruit offset by fresh acidity. It’s oxidative but not unduly so, powerful but not at all vulgar. It goes for R150 a bottle and there were only 3 000 bottles made so get some while you can.