What is to become of the Chenin Blanc Challenge now that Wine magazine is no longer? Held for the first time in 1996, it was the longest running of any of the wine competitions convened by the title and played at least a small role in rehabilitating the reputation of the variety.
Over the course of the Challenge’s 16 year history, Jean Daneel won three times, proving himself as one of the foremost practitioners of the variety.
Last night, the Daneel’sl Signature Series Chenin Blanc 2006 and, man, was it good. The nose showed peach, some waxiness and a very slight hint of nuttiness. On the palate, pure fruit, a jolt of acidity which was invigorating rather than hard or discordant before a quinine-like and completely pleasing bitterness. Weightless intensity and great length (13% abv, 13 months in oak, 20% new). Score: 18/20.