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Standard Bank Chenin Blanc Top 10 Challenge 2014 winners

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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

8 COMMENTS

  1. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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?

  2. 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…

    • 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.

      • 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.

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