Oude Libertas Dry Steen 1980

Grand old lady.

Grand old lady.

Yesterday the Old South African Wine Tasting which traditionally marks the start of judging at the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show. Whites have to be at least 15 years from vintage and reds at least 20 and yesterday there were a total of 32 wines on show, of which 11 were white and 21 red.

Whites of this age are usually hanging on at best and completely shot at worst but I thought Bouchard Finlayson Kaaimansgat Chardonnay 1997 and Buitenverwachting Sauvignon Blanc 1994 were more than respectable while a trio of wines from Chenin Blanc, namely Oude Libertas Dry Steen 1980, Zonnebloem Stein 1979 and Nederburg Johan Graue 1973, were a revelation.

The Dry Steen from Oude Libertas which apparently in its day was a humble “lunchtime” wine was particularly noteworthy. It showed apricot, caramel, an intriguing fungal note and, of particular interest, dried herbs which I tend to find on modern wines such as Cartology. It was quite lean on the palate but still very much intact with a long finish. Go Chenin!

Score: 92/100.

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