Yesterday a tasting of eight vintages of the Hope Marguerite Chenin Blanc from Bot River property Beaumont starting with the 2010 and culminating with the newly released 2017.
What was particularly fascinating was the subtle variations from year to year, with relatively little correspondence to the conventional wisdom regarding what were “good” and “bad” vintages in South Africa. In the case of Hope Marguerite, 2013 and 2015 both saw rain in the lead-up to harvest, resulting in the vineyards being infected with botrytis and the resulting wines being slightly sweeter than usual and also showing signs of more rapid development compared to their counterparts from more temperate vintages.
When the 2016 was reviewed on release, I thought it was one of the smartest modern-era local wines I’ve yet tasted rating it 97 on the 100-point quality scale (see here), and re-visiting it yesterday, I have no reason to change my mind. It’s extraordinarily vivid and so absolutely of its place – winemaker Sebastian Beaumont reveals that small berries thanks to the drought have contributed to it be so flavour-packed.
As for the 2017, it seems a little leaner and drier than the 2016. Very primary still, the nose shows hints of lime, pear, white peach and even some guava. The palate is pure and fresh with a pithy finish – it’s water-like now in its clarity and drinkability but should only gain in complexity with time in the bottle. Wine Cellar price: R295 a bottle.
Editor’s rating: 94/100.
Find our South African wine ratings database here.