Standard Bank Chenin Blanc Top 10 Challenge 2014 winners

August 27, 2014
by Christian
in News
with 8 Comments

StdBankCheninBlanc logoResults of the inaugural Standard Bank Chenin Blanc Top 10 Challenge, convened by the producer body known as the Chenin Blanc Association, are now out. There were 126 entries in total and the winning wines are as follows:

Bellingham The Old Orchard’s 2013
Cellar door price: R95

Kleine Zalze Family Reserve 2013
Cellar door price: R141

KWV The Mentors 2012
Cellar door price: R160

Perdeberg The Dry Land Collection Barrel Fermented 2013
Cellar door price: R73

Remhoogte Honeybunch Reserve 2013
Cellar door price: R150

Rijk’s Cellars Private Cellar 2009
Cellar door price: R130

Simonsig Chenin Avec Chêne 2010
Cellar door price: R110

Spier Woolworths Private Collection 2013
Woolworths price: R109.95

Stellenrust 2014
Cellar door price: R44

Villiera Traditional Barrel Fermented 2014
Cellar door price: R94.50

To read the tasting report in full, download the following: Tasting report

Share this post


  1. ChristianSeptember 2, 2014 at 2:05 pmReplyAuthor

    In reply to Dave, my top three current-release unwooded dry Chenin Blancs:

    1. Stellenrust 2014
    2. Villiera 2014
    3. Cederberg 2013

    Not too many other contenders which makes me think that some sort of oak, however minimal, is necessary to unlock the grape’s potential…

    • David SwinglerSeptember 2, 2014 at 8:16 pmReply

      Fascinating, as only the Cederberg 2013 is truly unwooded. Stellenrust 2014 is 20% 3rd & 4th fill barrel-fermented and 5 months sur lie, and Villiera 2014 is 30% fermented in oak (then 2 months sur lie as a blend). And none of us drink basic Boland or Perdeberg chenin anymore. I tried. And can’t.

      • ChristianSeptember 2, 2014 at 9:13 pmAuthor

        I was more or less aware of the “wooding” regime on the Villiera if not the Stellenrust. I think we’ve ended the “Why isn’t unwooded Chenin more rewarded?” debate right there.

  2. David SwinglerSeptember 1, 2014 at 7:57 pmReply

    Evening Christian
    I’m planning a 50 Shades of Chenin Tasting that will include the best RSA has to offer, as well as some Loire specialities from Gaston Huet and Moulin Touchais. So your latest Report – oops, probably not a ‘Report’ – was a great place to go digging, What a pity you don’t include technical analyses. [Which Platter also now eschews…] All 10 sound big, bold and ripe with glossy RS and punchy oak. ‘Really flavourful’ and ‘totally seductive’ aren’t descriptors that assist me in differentiating the wines on offer.

    • ChristianSeptember 2, 2014 at 8:58 amReplyAuthor

      Hi David, I’m sure the wonderful Ina Smith of the Chenin Blanc Association could help you out with technical analyses for the Top 10. As for the tasting notes, I would concur that they are pretty “softcore” (to coin a phrase) – the motivation being to make them as appealing as possible to the uninitiated (which I think was also the reason why Platter’s went this route). Also, they are composite tasting notes, which is to say I tried to identify the elements in each wine that appealed to the majority of judges. While there are certainly some “big, bold and ripe” numbers in the line-up (Rijk’s, Spier, Simonsig in particular), I thought the Kleine Zalze, Perdeberg and Villiera showed true complexity. The unwooded Stellenrust shouldn’t be overlooked either in terms of the fruit purity it offers. Are the top 10 winners the 10 best in the country? The nature of competitions featuring multiple judges tasting blind means even slightly controversial wines tend to get left behind. That said, I think the top 10 taken as a whole is a pretty good starting place towards understanding what’s happening at the top-end of the category.

      • David SwinglerSeptember 2, 2014 at 1:00 pm

        Thoughtful and intelligent reply Christian, thanks. Can I put you on the spot? (What a rhetorical question!) What are YOUR three, current, best, unwooded, dry chenins in RSA?

  3. RolffAugust 28, 2014 at 2:14 pmReply

    Do you know of anyone who is assembling this as a package?

    • ChristianAugust 28, 2014 at 2:50 pmReplyAuthor

      Hi Rolff, Packs have indeed been put together and you can get further information from Ina Smith of the Chenin Blanc Association:

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


AEC v1.0.4
  • No upcoming events
AEC v1.0.4
newlstter2 Get the biggest stories of the past fortnight sent directly to your inbox. subscribe

Wine magazine was published from October 1993 until September 2011 & now lives on in digital form as We cover everything to do with SA fine wine.

XSLT Plugin by Leo Jiang