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Oldenburg Chenin Blanc 2012

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It's getting better all the time.

Oldenburg in Stellenbosch continues to ratchet up the price of its Chenin Blanc – R68 a bottle from the farm for the maiden 2010, R118 for the 2011 and now R130 for the 2012 – but happily for all quality improvements are keeping pace.

The newly released 2012 was barrel fermented and matured for nine months in 300-litre barrel, 50% new. There’s lemon, peach, a hint of vanilla and some intriguing leesy character on the nose and palate. Rich but balanced – great flavour intensity, snappy acidity, well integrated oak – and a particularly long, slightly saline finish. Smacks of a very focused viticultural and winemaking team. Score: 17/20.

Less successful for me was the Merlot 2010 (R200 a bottle). Matured for 16 months in French oak, 50% new, the wine shows black fruit, chocolate and a vague olive-like note (the latter being its saving grace lest it become all too modern). Rich and broad with soft acidity (TA 4.6g/l). Carefully made but unaffecting was my verdict. Score: 15.5/20.

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