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Cederberg Chenin Blanc 2011 versus Rudera Robusto Chenin Blanc 2007

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The raw and the cooked.

Recently some worthwhile debate on Grape.co.za about how best to position Chenin Blanc towards growing its popular following– a number of preeminent figures coming out in support of drier wines (see here).

At the weekend, Cederberg Chenin Blanc 2011 versus Rudera Robusto Chenin Blanc 2007. The Cederberg unwooded with the following analysis: Alc 13.13%, RS 2.1g/l, TA 6.7g/l and pH 3.45; the Rudera, meanwhile, barrel matured, analysis being: Alc 14%, RS 14.2g/l, TA 7.5g/l and pH 3.26.

Both impressive wines but not exactly easy to drink, the Cederberg taut and lean, the Rudera rich and thick textured with honey, waxy and even mushroom-like notes. My observation would be that when made with serious intent, Chenin makes for geeky wines. Always has done, always will do. We should be celebrating Chenin in all its myriad forms – less workshops and more Chenin “festivals” (parties) where producers can interface with the people who actually buy and drink the stuff.

5 COMMENTS

  1. In my experience the Cederberg is the most frustrating Chenin to drink. The “taut and lean” is exactly what I miss amongst the new generation full cream bottlings, but why on earth would one make a Chenin to deliberately taste like a geen Sauvignon is beyond me!

  2. Hi Dieter, I often hear the criticism that the Cederberg is too “Sauvignon Blanc-like”, by which is meant “lacks varietal character” but I think it’s a legitimate style – I really like this wine’s purity. Chenin is meant to be a high-acid grape but too many local examples tend towards listless. In any event, I think recognising a wine as “good” but then knocking it for not being true to type is problematic, to say the least.

  3. Christian, to me as a regular consumer, the winemaking alone suggests a deliberate attempt to at least to give it (SA) Sauvignon aromatics. I’m not sure how much influence the Sauvignon lees it’s matured on has on the aroma of the finished product, but the this is what so frustrates me: the flavour profile suggests that this wine could have been a brilliant introduction of a more austere Savennieres styled SA Chenin as an alternative to Sauvignon amongst the oceans of overblown, overripe Chenins out there, but it tries to emulate Sauvignon. Semillon often shares a similar fate.

  4. Hi Dieter, Had the 2012 at a “Summer Chenin Showcase” put on by the Chenin Blanc Association yesterday and the wine pretty much divided the room. No question it’s an extreme version of Chenin but I think we’d be the poorer for it if we ruled it out of order.

  5. Hi Christian and Dieter
    Christian, first of all. Thanks for being the loyal Cederberg supporter that you are – and the honesty. Imagine a world where we all like red apples only. The custard apples would feel so left out.
    From a PR point I should get David (the winemaker) to give you a technical run down (Dieter mentions the Sauv leas contact: see our website: http://cederbergwine.com/category/wine_fact_sheets/cederberg-range/chenin-blanc/ ). BUT from a marketing point: Christian you have given a great answer at the end. Whilst attending the Chenin Blanc’s Association meetings and tastings over the last two years I’ ve learned that Chenin is so diverse.
    Yes, the Cederberg Chenin splits the room in half, but then again for many other reasons I can think of a few Chenins that can split a room in half.
    At present our Chenin sells out faster than our Sauvignon.
    Now Dieter – give us your list of five of your favourite Chenins (choose from the hundreds on page 17 in the Platter 2012).
    “Groete van die plaas”
    Pieter

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