Dual literary references when it comes to Koggelbos Chenin Blanc 2011 under the Mount Abora label out of the Meerhof cellar in the Swartland, the name of the wine “Koggelbos” recalling a poem by Afrikaans writer D.J. Opperman, the label “Mount Abora” referring to the imaginary peak in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s 19th century poem Kubla Khan.
Made by Johan Meyer operating out of the Meerhof cellar, it features grapes from three vineyards ranging in age from 35 to 42 years old and involved a diversified approach to winemaking: a third fermented on the skins and stalks, a third fermented whole-bunch in barrel and a third cold-soaked for 10 days before fermentation. Maturation lasted 11 months in 300-litre barrels, a combination of second and third-fill.
How to describe the wine? You might think of it as the antithesis of The FMC from Ken Forrester but really that’s not fair to either. It’s not charming or pretty or seductive but rather demanding and for those prepared to engage with it, rewarding.
It possesses a core of primary fruit but also plenty of secondary character, translating to layers and layers of flavour including peach and apricot, spice, a vaguely malty quality. The acidity presents as a sour tang and there’s also a slight phenolic sensation to be had. The finish is satisfyingly long and saline. Originally pitched at R180 a bottle, Mount Abora co-owner Krige Visser has stepped back from this and it will now sell for a bargain R95. I badly want to give it 18 on the 20-point-scale but suspect some will find it too crazy-assed so let’s settle on 17/20.