When Rudera Robusto 2002 won the 2005 WINE magazine Chenin Blanc Challenge with a residual sugar of 15.7g/l, I recall suggesting to winemaker Teddy Hall that it might be tricky to pair with food. To which, he replied that it was the sort of wine that should be drunk on its own!
After business couple Hylton and Wendy Appelbaum formerly of Johannesburg acquired De Morgenzon in Stellenbosch, they made sure to acquire the services of Hall to make wine from their block of Chenin Blanc dating from 1971 and the maiden 2005 vintage was promptly rated 5 Stars in Platter’s.
I opened the 2006 last night only for darling to take one sniff of it and say “I can’t do it”. The nose was very leesy, buttery and nutty and I could understand her misgivings. However, with it being the shortest day and longest night of the year and winter all around, it seemed right to persevere.
We were having homemade hamburgers and chips (as one does when broaching wannabe-icon Chenin Blanc) and the wine did appear more manageable with food, the rich, textured palate offset by soft but sufficient acidity and flavours of citrus, dried apricot and honey coming to the fore. In the end, however, I suspect Hall is right: His best efforts at Chenin are wines of contemplation to be drunk on their own.