“I don’t mean to be arrogant but I believe we’re the best producer of scale when it comes to Chenin Blanc,” says Albertus Louw, cellarmaster of Perdeberg Winery in Paarl. What kind of scale are we talking about? The team works with 700ha of Chenin Blanc vineyard, 30% of total plantings and remarkably 300ha of these are 21 years or older in age.
Not surprisingly, there are multiple iterations of the variety within the Perdeberg range, the one which has attracted the most attention recently being The Dryland Collection Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2013. Among numerous accolades, it placed among the winners of last year’s Standard Bank Chenin Blanc Top 10 Challenge, which I chaired and after tasting it again yesterday, I continue to think it’s a damn smart wine and probably under-priced at R78 a bottle.
The wine of the moment for me, however, is the standard-label Chenin Blanc 2015. This has been “Old Faithful” for years and the 2015 is particularly good. An enticing nose of guava, pear and peach before a palate showing good fruit weight balanced by fresh acidity before a long, dry finish. Not super-complex but compelling in its artlessness. R38 a bottle from the cellar door.