It recently emerged that James Molesworth of US publication Wine Spectator had scored the Reserve Chenin Blanc 2013 from Stellenbosch property DeMorgenzon 94 on the 100-point scale, which caused me to re-look the wine.
The last time I tasted it was in July last year and I found it rather shut down. Some time in bottle has done it a lot of favours and I think Molesworth is on the money.
Grapes from a vineyard planted in 1972 were picked in four different passes. In the cellar, fermentation occurred spontaneously and maturation lasted 11 months in French oak, 25% new.
On the nose, the wine shows a top-note of honeysuckle before citrus, pear and peach. There’s also a hint of struck match which I sometimes find odd on Chenin Blanc but works well here. The palate shows extraordinary fruit purity and a lovely line of acidity while the oak is well judged.
What I really like about it is that it’s a cerebral drinking experience – while there’s no shortage of fruit, it’s not fruit-driven as such and there’s plenty of savoury nuance, even a certain earthiness. You have a sense it’s just going to get better and better over the next three years or so.