Luddite Chenin Blanc 2013

Rough hewn.

Rough hewn.

Niels Verburg of Luddite Wines in Bot River marches to the tune of his own drum as his Chenin Blanc 2013 epitomises.

From vines 40 to 60 years in age, it underwent spontaneous fermentation in old oak. Deep yellow in colour, it’s overtly oxidative with notes of wet wool, honey, marzipan and spice to go with stone fruit and cut apple. It’s rich and full with moderate acidity – quite rustic but with plenty of interest. A very particular take on the variety. Price: R263 from Wine Concepts in Newlands.

Score: 88/100.

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  1. SmirrieApril 14, 2015 at 8:23 amReply

    Here is my 5 cents. I am a firm believer in decanting all of my Swartland Style wines younger than 2 years for white and 4 years for Red. With regards to anything older i don’t prefer decanting my wine. I also use my Vinturi tool a lot by pouring the wine out of the bottle into my wineglass. With regards to Cabernet of Stellenbosch younger than 6 years i also prefer decanting or at least using the Vinturi aerator. But i am definitely 100% with Kwispedoor not to disturb any old red of the nineties or older in whatsoever way except drinking same.

    Ps the Luddite Chenin in my view is at least a 91 and i love it.

  2. BernardApril 12, 2015 at 6:12 pmReply

    Its interesting to hear various takes on this and it probably remains contravertial.
    The concept of decanting young white wines dawned on me when I noticed on the back label of all the Sequillo wines that Eben Sadie goes as far as stating that decanting in youth is recommended. For what its worth, it anecdotally enhanced my experience of the Sequillo White 2013.
    It is as Kwispedoor says. It will be unnecessary if one has enough patience to leave until maturation.

  3. Christian EedesApril 12, 2015 at 9:12 amReplyAuthor

    Hi Bernard, Though I often revisit an open bottle over a 24-hour or even 48-hour period, I have to say I’m a decanting skeptic. Essentially pouring a wine out of its bottle into a different container involves saturating it with oxygen which if I think about the chemistry involved, can only lead to the wine becoming more diffuse and less marked in its sensory attributes. I’m happy for somebody more learned to set me straight, however…

    • KwispedoorApril 12, 2015 at 11:46 amReply

      I’m with you, Christian. Having experimented with this, the results are mainly random. It’s basically what the late Tony Mossop also concluded in his CWM thesis many years ago, if I recall correctly. Of course it might work for this Luddite in its youth, but I’m talking in general.

      I’ve found that some people’s dislike of sediment (I have no problem with it), following of (mainly English) tradition or sometimes mere pretension, makes them want to decant old wine. A dangerous practice, methinks, because old wines are often too fragile to be manhandled like that.

      Young wines sometimes benefit from decanting, but other times they don’t – and it’s nearly impossible to guess which way things will go. I much prefer to mature wine so that the need to manipulate it with oxygen is unnecessary.

  4. BernardApril 11, 2015 at 6:11 pmReply

    Hi Christiaan,
    I had the pleasure of tasting this Chenin at the Luddite’s farm with Niels casting a shadow over our table.
    I think the key to tasting these oxidative style chenins ( like many examples from the Swartland) is
    decanting. I had this again at home a few weeks later. Opened and decanted it approximately 4 hours prior to drinking.Thought it was excellent.
    Do you often decant these whites or leave overnight and retaste later?
    Thanks for your blog, I find it a great read and very insightful.

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