Lourens van der Westhuizen, winemaker at family-owned Robertson property Arendsig, makes an additional range of wines from sites further afield which he considers to show particular merit, these designated as “Inspirational Batch”.
Yesterday a chance to re-visit the 2012 and 2013 vintages of Inspirational Batch 1 Chenin Blanc, made from an old Rawsonville vineyard. I was a big fan of the 2012 on release (see here) and it’s still looking good if stylistically pretty far out (some will not be able to tolerate the V/A but I think it makes the wine).
The 2013, meanwhile, saw a “more clinical” approach – the grapes coming off the vines before the heat of the day for one thing and no malolactic fermentation for another. It’s shows citrus, peach and a little leesy complexity. Good fruit concentration, snappy acidity and a pithy finish. Excellent but staid in comparison to the 2012. It’s still available at R150 a bottle and I scored it 90/100.
The revelation of the tasting was Rivergold Chenin Blanc 2010, from a property just south of Arendsig which Van der Westhuizen made under contract. From a vineyard over 30 years old planted on alluvial soils with lyre system trellising, fermentation occurred spontaneously, maturation in older barrels lasting 10 month.
Pale yellow with a green tinge, it appears extraordinarily youthful in colour. An exquisite nose of pear, white peach, lemon, sultanas, potpourri and spice; pure fruit and wonderfully zingy acidity on the palate; and a finish which is extremely long and pithy.
A wine of great finesses and quite thrilling to drink. It’s still available at R85 a bottle and I scored it 94/100. Van der Westhuizen thinks he might be on to something and from the 2015 vintage has given up the Rawsonville vineyard for this one to make Inspirational Batch.